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What to expect when you apply for a volunteering role

What to expect when you apply for a volunteering role

When you first decide to volunteer, the anticipation can be exciting. You’ve found some capacity in your life and volunteering is how you have decided to use this time. You’re feeling proud of yourself and ready for the opportunity to help others.

First, you dedicate time to thinking about what suits your interests. Then, you find a role that suits those interests and your availability, and you apply with the anticipation of volunteering soon. Finally, you wait for a response from the volunteer organisation. And sometimes you wait…and wait.

If that response doesn’t come in a timely manner, it can be quite frustrating. While it’s perfectly understandable to expect volunteer organisations to eagerly get back to you, a keen volunteer, it’s also worth understanding a bit about their processes.

What volunteer organisations do when they get your application

  • Assess your suitability and availability
    Even though you might know you’re a great fit for the role, most organisations still need to do their own checks and balances. They might ask for additional information about your skills and capabilities and they might need time to determine the best shift to offer you.

  • Ensure you meet compliance needs Over 70% of roles advertised on SEEK Volunteer require some sort of compliance check. This might include a Working with Children Check, a Police Check or a Drivers Licence. The volunteer organisation is required to follow strict protocols to ensure you are fully compliant. This might take a few communication exchanges.

  • Operational processes
    A lot of volunteer organisations have manual processes for reviewing applications. A lot of volunteer managers have multiple responsibilities, are part-time or may even be volunteering in the role themselves. On top of that, sometimes volunteer programs experience interruptions that simply mean you might not be needed for a while longer.

Next time you wonder why it’s taking so long to hear back from an organisation, just bear in mind all the steps that the recruitment team must take, and often with limited time and resources on hand. Be patient, they are doing their best.

How you can optimise the process

Luckily, there are things you can do to optimise your application and make things easier for the volunteer manager on the receiving end of your application.

  • Read the advertisement closely - make sure you are suitable and committed to taking on the role. Applying to a role that you’re not quite right for unfortunately wastes your own time as well as the organisation’s.

  • Make sure your compliance checks are up to date - this means the organisation won’t have to chase you to update any outdated checks.

  • Be patient yet proactive - If you haven’t heard from the volunteer organisation after a few weeks, check the application confirmation email you received from SEEK Volunteer to get the organisation’s contact details and politely follow up with them directly.

  • Try again - If a reasonable amount of time has past and you are still really keen to volunteer, don’t hesitate to jump back onto SEEK Volunteer and apply for another role.