Community Outreach & Leadership Development

Tips for Successful Volunteers

  1. Complete all Drury Forms FIRST!
    Complete all Drury service project liability and emergency contact forms and submit them to the Office of Community Outreach & Leadership Development for any service project offered through Drury.

  2. Establish a contact person:
    Know who will be working on the project with you and a phone number to reach them. If they are expecting you at a certain time, be prompt and ready to work. This person should also be available to answer any questions you may have. Also, remember who you talked with originally – it may not be the same person, and clarify where the service will take place. Many agencies have multiple locations and possible service sites.

  3. Find out about the agency's history:
    The more you know about what the organization does and the clientele it serves the more effective and rewarding your efforts will be.

  4. Be aware of your environment:
    Remember you are a helper, a learner, and a visitor. The organization with which you are working has specific ways of interacting and getting things done. Be aware of these particularities and act appropriately. Do not assume you know how to do things or know more than the people who are there every day. Ask questions and when appropriate, make suggestions but be prepared to help implement your suggestions.

  5. Model a strong work ethic:
    Remember your agreement to serve is a commitment to the agency. You will establish relationships with the agency clientele and they will look forward to seeing you and be disappointed when you don't show. If you are going to be late or are unable to attend, please call your contact person as soon as possible. Consider carefully the reason you might have for missing your meeting.

  6. Follow the organizations policies and procedures:
    Be familiar with the specifics of your job. Gain a clear understanding of any rules you need to follow. Ask about any liability/risk of which you need to be aware. Find out what kind of insurance they provide for volunteers.

  7. Personal safety
    For your safety and the safety of others, volunteers must be in full view of other witnesses and/or other staff members when working one-on-one with an adult or child. Volunteers should not be in a closed room alone with another individual at any time. Volunteers should never provide transportation to agency clients.

  8. Understand the need for confidentiality:
    Becoming personally involved with the agency clientele is a rewarding experience, but remember you may be dealing with sensitive information that is not to leave the agency. If there is any question as to whether you should share information.... DO NOT! Speak with the site supervisor about their confidentiality policy. Additionally, do not feel pressured to share personal information with clients.

  9. Dress appropriately and sensibly:
    Follow the rules of the agency you are serving. If they don't tell you what to wear – ask. Wear clothing that is appropriate and affords you comfort, flexibility and agility.

  10. Avoid carrying a lot of personal items:
    There may not be any place for you to keep your personal items.

  11. Don't Expect Too Much:
    The statement "One person alone cannot do everything, but one person alone can do something" holds true for most volunteer situations. The instability and chaos of the non-profit world can lead to frustrations for volunteers, but one must consider the impact of their contribution.

  12. Personal Integrity:
    Please keep in mind your personal integrity while volunteering in our community. At all times, you are a representative of your personal self as well as the University.

  13. Record your service hours:
    Please track and record your service hours. Tracking forms can be found outside of FSC 117 or online at; click on "Track Your Service Hours".

  14. Reflect and have FUN!:
    Service can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of a college student. Reflect on the impact of your service, how it ties back to your classes and your personal life, and what it means in your own development as an engaged citizen.

  15. Above all, use common sense!
    Never use alcohol or drugs on site. Always be aware of the organizations smoking policy. Don't expect to know all of the answers.

  16. Report
    Report an incident that makes you uncomfortable to the community partner and to Drury's Office of Community Outreach and Leadership Development.