Volunteering typically takes place in not-for-profit agencies. A not-for-profit's objectives focuses on community outcomes, rather than existing to earn and re-distribute taxable wealth to employees and economic and shareholders.
The time and commitment required to be a volunteer varies from agency to agency and will depend on the volunteer position you choose. The commitment may be as little as an hour a week or as much as two days a week depending on the needs of the agency and on the availability of the volunteer. We recommend 15 hours a week
In some specialised agencies/organisations all staff, both paid and volunteer, are asked to undergo a police check for a criminal record. You would be informed of any legal or training requirements during or prior to an interview.
Training and skill requirements vary amongst organisations. Some positions require little formal training and specialist skills, whilst others have greater requirements. Training is generally provided for by the agency, volunteers should not be required to incur any expense for the training they undertake.
Once you have selected and contacted the organisation of your choice, you will probably be invited to attend an interview. Organisations conduct interviews so people can find out more about the volunteer job and the organisation can find the right volunteer for the job. In the interview you should be ready to answer questions about your previous work experience, both paid and voluntary, discuss your skills and qualifications and provide the names of referees.

Most Australian agencies which send people overseas to volunteer require applicants to have a high level of experience in their field both for short and long-term placements. Generally you should also have a minimum of two years experience in your field of work. You may be required to supply copies of your qualifications when you apply.

Some organisations require a financial contribution to help with costs such as airfares and accommodation.

As a rule, if you wish to volunteer, overseas organisations require that you are an Australian citizen or hold permanent residency status in Australia.

It is important to ask an organisation if they have insurance to cover you in the case of accident or injury as Volunteers are not paid employees and are therefore not covered by WorkCover. You should ask the organisation if they have both Public Liability (the policy must mention Volunteers) and personal accident insurance for volunteers. Personal Accident and Injury insurance cover should provide protection in the event of an accident whilst performing volunteer work.

Organisations are not legally required to reimburse volunteers for out of pocket expenses such as travel. While some organisations have a policy that provides this type of reimbursement, others are not in a financial position to do so. Please check with individual organisations.

Anyone can volunteer but there may be age requirements depending on the type of volunteer role. Some not-for profit organisations have a policy of not involving volunteers under (or over) a certain age. For more information click here