What is Volunteering?
Volunteer service has been a part of practically every civilization and society.  It can be defined as the contribution that individuals make as a no profit, no wage, action for the well-being of their neighbourhood, or community.

To Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre volunteering must be free. The service must be done for free, meaning without any financial payment.  An organization may compensate a volunteer for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in volunteering, but if it compensates a volunteer for his time, s/he is no longer a volunteer.  The service must be freely offered, and not required by the courts, by a course or graduation requirement, or by an employer.  Such required service can appropriately be calledcommunity service, but is less appropriately called volunteering.  DBNC promotes both volunteering and community service.

Who Can Volunteer?
Everyone can volunteer. A volunteer needs only to begin with a willingness to give of their time and their talents. Given this attribute, everyone can volunteer somewhere, sometime, somehow.

Why Volunteer?
People volunteer for a wide variety of reasons, especially wanting to help others. But it’s also OK to recognize the personal benefits of volunteering.

There is a misunderstanding that the true spirit of volunteering prevents a volunteer from receiving something back for the experience. There are essential rewards a volunteer will also enjoy like skill development and friendship.

Instead of considering volunteering as something you do for people who are not as fortunate as yourself, begin to think of it as a way of giving back to your community. Most people find themselves in need at some point in their lives, and have benefited from someone else’s volunteer effort. Adding your effort to the work of others makes everyone’s life better.

Your Motivations
Why do you want to volunteer? You may have several different reasons. Here are just a few of the many reasons identified by other volunteers:

  • feel needed
  • to share a skill
  • to get to know a community
  • for fun!
  • to keep busy
  • for recognition
  • to learn something new
  • to be challenged
  • to make new friends
  • to explore a career
  • to help someone
  • to gain leadership skills
  • for religious reasons
  • to earn academic credit
  • to keep skills alive
  • because an agency is close
  • to be part of a team
  • because you were asked
  • to build your resume
  • satisfaction from accomplishment
  • to donate your professional skills
  • because of pressure from a friend or relative
  • to demonstrate commitment to a cause/belief

You will probably have some special reasons of your own. During your volunteer experiences at DBNC you will find that acceptance, appreciation and friendships you form will motivate you to continue supporting your community. In fact the positive experiences you have supporting others will not only benefit the community but also drive you to share your volunteer experiences with your peers.

How do you become a Volunteer?  

Once you are convinced that you would like to become a volunteer, the question that remains is How? It is very important to find a volunteer opportunity that is right for you.

Consider why you are volunteering – above and beyond your general interest in making the world a better place to live in, what are your motivations?

Do you want to:

  • learn new skills,
  • explore areas of society you know little about,
  • consider a new career direction,
  • share your hobbies with others,
  • make new friends,

Your can go to the volunteer section and fill out the volunteer application form, submit it to the Manger, Community Outreach, along with your resume (if you have one) and you will be called in for an interview within a two (2) week period.

Rights and Responsibilities of the Volunteer:
As a volunteer understanding the rights and responsibilities of the volunteer is the key to successful volunteering.  It is at the heart of what makes a good volunteer and a good volunteer experience.

The list below is a short version of the most important rights and responsibilities of volunteers.  They may seem like common sense, but they are often violated by those who do not consciously recognize their importance.

As a volunteer, you have the right to:

  • Feel that your efforts actually contribute to the organization’s objectives
  • Receive the necessary orientation, training, and supervision
  • Learn how to improve your skills in the work you are doing
  • Be treated with respect
  • Expect that your time will not be wasted by poor planning
  • Ask questions and give suggestions about the work you are doing
  • Be trusted with confidential information necessary to do your work
  • Be appreciated for the work you have done
  • Be given written proof or evaluation of your work, if you request it

As a volunteer, you have the responsibility to:

  • Meet your time commitments or provide adequate notice so other arrangements can be made
  • Only accept responsibilities that you can reasonably handle
  • Perform the work assigned to the best of your ability
  • Follow organizational policies and procedures
  • Respect the confidences given to you
  • Be open-minded and respectful of others
  • Accept reasonable tasks without complaining
  • Feel that your efforts actually contribute to the organization’s objectives
  • Receive the necessary orientation, training, and supervision
  • Learn how to improve your skills in the work you are doing
  • Be treated with respect
  • Expect that your time will not be wasted by poor planning
  • Ask questions and give suggestions about the work you are doing
  • Be trusted with confidential information necessary to do your work
  • Be appreciated for the work you have done
  • Be given written proof or evaluation of your work, if you request it.