FAQs

Below is a list of frequently asked questions. If you don't find the answer to what you are looking for please contact us


What are my rights and responsibilities as a volunteer?

Volunteering is a two-way relationship. As a volunteer you can expect to have a number of rights but there are certain responsibilities as well.

Volunteers have the RIGHT to:

  • Worthwhile and stimulating activities, using any special skills they may have.
  • Choice regarding the activities they take part in – to be able to say NO if they are uncomfortable with the task assigned.
  • Be provided with orientation which will help them understand the agency and type of work they will do.
  • Receive adequate training, support and supervision to enable them to do their job effectively.
  • Be given feedback.
  • Be recognised for their contribution.
  • Be protected by adequate insurance.
  • Work in a healthy and safe environment.
  • Have authorised out-of-pocket expenses reimbursed.

Volunteers have the RESPONSIBILITY to:

  • Be dependable – notify the agency if unable to attend.
  • Be willing to undertake relevant orientation, training, support and supervision.
  • Maintain confidentiality and be non-judgemental.
  • Work in accordance with health and safety regulations.
  • Work in accordance with the agency’s policies, procedures, instructions and rules.
  • Say no when they cannot commit to a task.
  • Respect the rights, privacy and dignity of clients and colleagues.

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What are the rights and responsibilities of agencies using volunteers?

Agencies have the RIGHT to:

  • Assess the volunteer’s capacities, place them appropriately and expect assignments to be adequately completed.
  • Plan and facilitate training for volunteers.
  • Redirect volunteers determined unsuitable for placement or to say no to volunteers. 

Agencies have the RESPONSIBILITY to:

  • Empower volunteers to meet their own and agency needs.
  • Offer volunteers work opportunities appropriate to their skills, expertise and aspirations.
  • Provide volunteers with clear duty statements and orientation to their work and the agency.
  • Offer training and support for volunteers to achieve goals.
  • Implement procedures to ensure volunteer safety and well-being.
  • Offer reimbursement or other compensation to cover out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Recognise volunteers as valued team members with opportunities to participate in relevant agency decisions.

Provide mechanisms to acknowledge the value of contributions made by volunteers.

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What kind of support and training can I expect?

You can usually expect to participate in orientation, training and learning opportunities that will familiarise you with the service and role you have chosen.

There may be opportunities for training courses or workshops and some agencies provide certificates to add to your portfolio.

Talk to your contact person at your agency interview about these issues and also determine the days and times you will be required, and who you will be reporting to.

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What is expected of volunteers in terms of trust?

Volunteers are sometimes placed in a position of trust and responsibility that may include working with adults and young people who are vulnerable. It is imperative that volunteers do not disclose any information about people they work with and do not take advantage of the vulnerability or frailty of the individuals. Volunteers may be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding their work with an agency.

The following questions may help you identify when confidentiality is compromised:

  • Would you feel compromised if information about you was disclosed to someone else without your permission?
  • Could the person be identified from what you are saying about them?
  • Does the information you are giving disclose issues about the person’s health, finances, sexuality, legal issues or their family?
  • Are you telling something heard first-hand or something heard from someone else?
  • Always consider how you would feel if you were the topic of discussion.

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Are volunteers covered by insurance?

If you are referred to a volunteer position you should be covered by:

  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Personal Accident Insurance for Volunteers. 
  • This covers volunteers for any out-of pocket expenses following accidental injury, disability or death while carrying out their work on behalf of the agency. This type of insurance would normally cover loss of income.

Some agencies also hold other types of insurance such as Professional Indemnity and/or Directors and Officers Liability Insurance.  Check the insurance cover with the contact person when you go for your agency interview.

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Are volunteers reimbursed for expenses?

Many agencies reimburse volunteers for out-of-pocket expenses such as mileage costs if using their own vehicle, phone calls made on behalf of the agency, travel costs, etc. This will of course depend on the financial circumstances of the agency, and should be checked when you go for your agency interview.

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Do I need a police check, references or a Working with Children Check?

This will depend on what volunteer work you choose to do. Some agencies require a National Police Check, particularly if you are working with vulnerable people or will be handling money. Agencies working with children may also require a Working with Children Check. Many agencies pay for these checks on your behalf, but you will need to check when you go for your agency interview.

You may also be asked to provide the names of referees (not family members) so that the agency can learn more about you.

More information about police checks can be found at the Department for Communities website

Information about Working with Children Checks can be found at http://www.checkwwc.wa.gov.au/default.htm.

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Can I volunteer if I am just visiting Australia?

Yes! Australia has a strong culture of volunteering with a wide variety of positions available. See the Volunteering Australia website for more information on volunteering on tourist visas. Click here.

See the GoVolunteer website for a listing of positions across the country - www.govolunteer.com.au.

If you are interested in volunteering while travelling in Western Australia then you may wish to take a look at our Visiting Volunteers program which can help match you up with various volunteer positions in regional WA.

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What happens if I have any problems?

We hope your volunteer experience is enjoyable and rewarding but if any problems do arise, either with clients, staff or other volunteers, please talk it over with the contact person at your agency (usually the volunteer coordinator or manager). Concerns will be dealt with in confidence and advice and support will be offered. Ask about grievance procedures when you go for your interview.

  • Staff at Volunteer Resource Centres are also available to discuss any concerns you may have.
  • What happens if I want to retire from volunteering or try something different?
  • If you want to retire from your current volunteering role, please give adequate notice to the agency. You may also like to be involved in preparing your successor for the role.
  • If you would like to try a new volunteer opportunity, contact your local Volunteer Resource Centre (see contact details under “Links” section) to find other volunteer positions located in your community.

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How do I get details of volunteer positions?

Contact details for Volunteering WA or your closest Volunteer Resource Centre are found in the "Links" section of the website.  Phone, stop by or email to arrange a time to see us.  We'll give you all the information you need to know about volunteer positions suited to your skills, interests and abilities.

You can also use the online search facility on the right hand side of this page to find volunteering opportunities throughout Western Australia.

You can also search for national volunteer positions through the GoVolunteer website at www.govolunteer.com.au

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What skills do I need to volunteer?

Volunteering has so many forms that everyone can find a position that utilises their own particular skills, interests and abilities.

Before choosing a volunteer position, think about what skills you have that you could bring to an agency.  These could include skills acquired through your working life, such as computing, business skills (e.g. accounting), publicity, marketing, etc. or your personal interests or hobbies, such as reading, cooking, hiking, driving, telling stories, etc.  Be sure to include those skills you would like to learn more about!

Make an appointment with Volunteering WA or your closest Volunteer Resource Centre if you need help identifying the skills you can bring to a volunteer position.

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What volunteer opportunities are available?

These will change from time to time and will depend on location but may include:

  • Administration or Clerical
  • Arts, Crafts or Performing
  • Campaigning or Lobbying
  • Community Sporting Events
  • Counselling, Mediation or Advocacy
  • Disability Support Services
  • Education, Tutoring or Mentoring
  • Emergency, Safety or Rescue
  • Food Services
  • Fundraising or Retail
  • Gardening or Outdoor Activities
  • Hospitals or Allied Health Assistant
  • IT or Library Service
  • Marketing, PR or Media
  • Material Relief
  • Professional, Management or Committee
  • Providing Info or Visitor Guiding
  • Technical, Mechanical or Maintenance
  • Visit, Social Support or Driving
  • Working with Animals
  • Working with Children/Youth
  • Working with the Aged
  • Writing, Editing or Research

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