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Is there anything that would make volunteering easier for you?

(84 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 10-Apr-12 12:03:01


Our Campaign of the Week this week is for the rather splendid Do-It, a site which aims to help people in the UK find volunteering opportunities via a postcode search.

Obviously volunteering is something that can take a hit when households are already struggling to make ends meet, so we wanted to ask: what kinds of things (other than an overflowing bank account) would make it easier for you to volunteer? And - for those of you who have volunteered in the past - what did you gain from the experience, and would you recommend it to others?


ProfYaffle Thu 12-Apr-12 16:41:39

I'm currently a volunteer at the CAB and absolutely loving it. As others have said the way CAB is set up means the offices are run very differently in different locations. Personally I feel very valued, the training is amazing and they're as flexible as they can be with me.

Childcare is my biggest issue but if my school would run an afterschool club that would solve things easily.

I've also volunteered on the school Governors (gave up), local Allotment Association (gave up) and a community project (am wavering) The biggest problem I've come across in these projects is a lack of true hierarchy/authority which means the ridiculous politicking that goes on about shed sizes and other such crap is both petty and vicious. It's quite breathtaking how awful people can be to each other when we're all just trying to do the right thing.

CroissantNeuf Thu 12-Apr-12 18:13:50

I've been a volunteer for the last 2 years.

What makes this do-able for me is mainly the flexibility of the role. Although I commit to 2 sessions a week I can swap days at short notice and its not a major hassle if I can't make it . Its also possible for me to do as much as I like from home too (so the charity benefit if I can't be bothered to do housework as I use the extra voluntary work as a distraction! grin)

Also, most importantly is that I only volunteer term-time so don't have to worry about school holidays.

I've also been there for that long as my skills and experience have been recognised and used, I've received training in new areas and I've been given lots of opportunities to develop the service I work in so I've never got bored!

gramercy Thu 12-Apr-12 18:37:12

I've been volunteering for years (SAHM).

I think some organisations definitely need to be reminded that volunteers give their time for nothing. Therefore be nice to them! I hate being guilt-tripped or overburdened or hassled.

Also some organisations dump every crap job on the newbie - again, v bad and no wonder they have a big turnover of volunteers (PTAs particularly guilty of this!). Likewise sometimes you volunteer for something and suddenly find you are the Secretary, Social Secretary, Vice Chairman, Chairman... and immediately absolutely everything is your fault .

Other organisations are supremely sniffy about new people. Usually a certain number of people are required to be quorate/operational, but actually they don't really want you present as it's a nice little social club for the old guard.

Perhaps I've just encountered all the wrong 'uns!

CherylCoalbunker Thu 12-Apr-12 19:50:33

Thanks for your further suggestions re family volunteer holidays!

Wigeon Thu 12-Apr-12 20:09:33

*Tw1nkle" - try your local regional office of Business in the Community - I'm pretty sure they would be able to point you in the direction of someone who could broker a volunteer opportunity for your team. Or they may well be able to do this themselves.

Wigeon Thu 12-Apr-12 20:09:49


ragged Fri 13-Apr-12 10:40:18

I had a look at the website, all the opportunities within 5 miles are customer facing, which I don't want to do (MN has completely undermined my confidence there!). Or involve hours that don't fit with school.

I'd be happy to do a quiet back office role.
Will keep checking; tbh, I'm thinking to directly approach one of the local charities & offer to do a back-office type role, but obviously on my terms.

ThisIsNotWhatIWasAfter Mon 16-Apr-12 18:09:21

Those of you looking for family volunteering have a look at your nearest city farm or similar. Ours runs a club for kids to help out with animal care. Kids love it and its a worthwhile way to spend family time and get fresh air and exercise.

innerstrength Mon 16-Apr-12 18:20:51

I have been a Samaritan for about 14 years.

It is without doubt, the most amazing and worthwhile thing I have ever done with my life, and the thing that I have learnt the most from. And I keep on learning from it.

What would make it easier would be more/cheaper babysitters/childcare, as I am a single parent of several kids, and struggle to fit my duties in at a time when I have someone to babysit.

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