Community Outreach & Leadership Development

13 Ways to Become a Successful Volunteer

  1. Establish a contact person
    Know who will be working on the project with you and a phone number to reach them. This person should be available to answer any questions you may have.

  2. Learn about the organization's history & culture
    As a volunteer, your role is to help, learn, and engage. The more you know about what the organization does and the clientele it serves the more effective and rewarding your efforts will be. Each organization has a different culture about it, so it is important that you take the time to observe this culture in order to be a successful volunteer.

  3. Model strong work ethic
    Your agreement to serve is a commitment to the organization. You will establish relationships with both the organization and their clients. 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.

  4. Follow organization policies & procedures
    Be familiar with the specifics of your service project. Ask about any liabilities/risks of which you need to be aware and find out what kind of insurance they provide for volunteers.

  5. 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 with an adult or child. Don't do anything you feel may be overly risky or dangerous, and you should never provide transportation to agency clients.

  6. Respect 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. Speak with your contact person about their confidentiality policy. Additionally, do not feel pressured to share personal information with clients.

  7. Personal items & dress code
    Find out what to wear before you go to your service site. There may not be a secure place for you to keep your personal items, so avoid taking valuables.

  8. Expectations
    Nonprofit organizations are important parts of our community. While your time serving may be short, every little bit helps them achieve their mission.

  9. Personal integrity
    Please keep in mind your personal integrity while volunteering in our community. At all times, you represent yourself as well as the larger Drury community.

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

  11. Submit your service hours
    Our service hours forms can be used to track the service hours of an individual or a group. If you submit your hours, our office will track this information so you may use it for resume purposes, awards, and scholarships. We also use this information to let the larger community know our impact.

  12. Reflection
    Service can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences during your college career. Reflect on your impact as a volunteer, how it ties back to your classes and your personal life, and what it means in your own development as an engaged citizen.
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