How to Evaluate a Potential Volunteer Opportunity

Being sure that you have found the right volunteer activity for you will help make the experience the best it can be.

  • When shopping for a volunteer job, it is recommended that, if possible, you arrange to tour the agency, speak with paid staff and/or unpaid staff (volunteers) and learn about the organization and its volunteer program. Get the organization's brochure, look at their web site, and educate yourself about what the organization is trying to accomplish.
  • Ask the agency why they involve volunteers and how volunteers help the organization work towards its mission. The answer will give you an idea of the value of volunteers to the agency and the kind of culture in which they operate.
  • Ask about written volunteer job descriptions and length of commitment, inquire about training opportunities, and discuss your motivation for and interest in volunteering.
  • You should expect to be interviewed by agency representatives who are responsible for determining the appropriateness of potential volunteers.
  • Remember that you will be expected to complete the assignment you have accepted and perform the job to the best of your ability. Just as you are investing your time in the organization, the staff and other volunteers are investing time and resources in you.
  • Be patient - not every volunteer job is right for every volunteer. It is important to give yourself time to explore a variety of opportunities within the different agencies. While one particular job may not be ideal for you, dozens of other volunteer assignments may meet your needs and expectations.