I’m thinking of volunteering. Where’s a good place to start?
You might want to think about what types of activities you would like to do, what skills and experience you have to offer, what causes are important to you and how much time you would be willing to commit – this will help you to narrow down your possible choices.
If there is a particular organisation you’d like to volunteer with, don’t be afraid to contact the organisation and ask them if they have any volunteer positions available that you could apply for. If they do have positions available they will need to know what skills you can offer and how much time you can give. They may require additional information from you as well – what information they need will depend on the nature of the volunteer work you are interested in undertaking.
Depending on the type of work, some voluntary roles do not require any training and operate within a learn-as-you-go environment, while other kinds of voluntary work do involve training and some organisations may provide the training for their volunteers. As well as helping volunteers in their day-to-day work, volunteer training can be a great opportunity for personal learning and development. You may want to find out what, if any, training will be available to you as a volunteer with the organisation you wish to work for.
Where do I find out about community organisations near me?
Here’s a list of types of organisations you could approach:
- Get involved with your child’s education provider – fundraising, school board member, maintenance and upkeep of grounds or property, information technology support
- Help with other youth organisations – as a mentor, activities organiser or providing transportation
- Work with animal welfare groups – hands-on care for animals or advocating for animal rights
- Environmental and conservation groups – some are nationwide or global, others have a more local focus.
- Participate in community or professional interest, cultural and creative groups – marketing and publicity, organising events, governance and management, professional advice, technology support
Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) is an association of regional volunteer centres and national organisations with a commitment to volunteering. Your regional volunteer centre will help you to find organisations in your local area which are looking for volunteers. You can also search on the Volunteer Now website to find volunteer positions available in your area.
The CAB service is delivered by volunteers, so contact the CAB to find out about volunteering opportunities with us, as well as about other opportunities in your community.
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What organisations can I volunteer with to provide free Christmas meals to people in need?
This will depend on the region you are in. Churches or your local Salvation Army often provide a free Christmas dinner. Local community clubs, like the Lions, may also offer a free Christmas dinner.
In past years the meals were arranged by various organised depending on the location. Some of the providers included City Mission (Auckland and Christchurch), Salvation Army (Wellington) and Church of Christ (Dunedin).
Some have schemes to provide food parcels to people who are experiencing financial hardship, or toys to their children – this is another option you could consider.
Contact your local city council or Citizens Advice Bureau for more information about who will be offering Christmas dinners in your region this year.
If an organisation says they are not-for-profit, what does this mean?
A non-profit organisation is any society, association or organisation that does not function for the profit or gain of any member, and has rules that do not allow money, property or any other benefits to be distributed to any of its members.
This does not mean that the organisation cannot make a profit, only that the profit must be used for the purposes of the organisation and not the benefit of its members.
Are there Citizens Advice Bureaux in Australia?
There are CABs in Australia, as well as organisations which provide some aspects of the CAB service. Some provide a number of levels of assistance, while others offer a more limited information-only service. The following links should help you to find community information services in each state or territory: