Wanting to volunteer somewhere can be a noble use of your time. It’s great you are willing to help out others without necessarily receiving anything in return.
Surprisingly, it’s not always easy to register to become a volunteer at some places. Sometimes you have to go through a background screening, and it can almost feel like applying for a job.
While most of the time, people are happy to have volunteers, there are cases where you have there are certain requirements you need to fill. Here are five requirements you might need if you want to do some volunteer work.
Usually, you can expect to fill out an application to be a volunteer. Filling out an application tends to be one of the more common requirements an organization will ask for.
Most of the time, filling out an application won’t be a too involved or extensive process. You’ll probably need to give your name, date of birth, and address, but some applications will have additional questions and parts you’ll need to fill out.
The more complicated applications tend to be for the more competitive volunteer roles. These applications might mirror closer to an actual job application.
Many organizations will want to know you are who you say you are. This tends to be the case if you plan to volunteer at an organization for an extended period.
Usually, all you’ll have to show is an identification card, but other times you might be asked to show a copy of your birth certificate, social security card, or equivalent. It’ll depend on the organization you want to volunteer for.
Still, some people will take you at your word. This will usually happen if you only plan to volunteer for a short amount of time or a one-off event like a river cleanup.
If you want to volunteer for center organizations, you might have to undergo a background check. It might feel weird since you’re not planning to work there for the money, but some organizations are very selective as to who they are to volunteer for them.
One of the best examples is volunteering in healthcare. These positions can get many applications, and it gets to the point where the organization must reject people. One of the fastest ways to weed out people is to conduct a background check. If anything questionable shows up, like a criminal record, you might be one of the first people rejected.
Alternatively, if you do disclose something, like a criminal record, prior to the background screening, you might be able to pass. It all depends on the organization and what the circumstances are.
Ironically, you might need certain prior experience to volunteer at some organizations and for specific roles.
Sure, volunteering is generally a good way for you to gain experience, but sometimes an organization needs someone who already has a specific skill set or prior knowledge on a subject.
This might be the case in something like applying to be a volunteer firefighter. It’s a role many people will apply for, and sometimes, they might be seeking someone who has some prior knowledge or experience. This doesn’t have to be an exact match and could be having EMT or paramedic experience.
Having a recommendation is another aspect that feels like you’re applying for a job, but sometimes it’s a requirement an organization will look for.
Most of the time, you shouldn’t expect an organization to ask for references. However, the more competitive roles and prestigious organizations might have this requirement.
You might need to show a recommendation letter or list a few references. They’ll usually want to know about your character more than anything, so you probably won’t need to go too extensive with your recommendation letter or referrals.
It might feel redundant for volunteer roles to have requirements, but sometimes it’s a necessity. Organizations carry some risk if they have a problematic volunteer. This is more evident with big organizations, which have reputations to maintain.
You shouldn’t let prior requirements hold you back if you really want to volunteer for a specific organization. Do be cautious and aware, though.