FAQ

We understand that contacting an organisation for the first time or going for a volunteer interview can be a bit daunting, so if you need a bit of help, look no further. If we haven’t answered your question here just give us a ring on 01472 231123 or email liz@vanel.org.uk

How do I start the conversation when I ring up for the first time?

All you need to say is, I understand you are looking for volunteers. How can I get involved?’

Or you might say ‘I see that you are looking for volunteer drivers (or whatever the role is). Could you tell me a bit more about that role please?’

What questions should I ask at a volunteer interview?
You could ask any of the following questions depending on the role:
  • Do I get paid out-of-pocket expenses when I volunteer?
    This is a perfectly reasonable question to ask any volunteer involving organisations. If you are paid out of pocket expenses to get from your home to the place where you volunteer or travelling within the role you will be expected to provide evidence of expenditure such as bus tickets or completing a mileage claim form. Some organisations also provide meal expenses if you volunteer for a full day or over a certain number of hours on production of proof of purchase. Any payment of out of pocket expenses will be agreed with you before you claim them.
  • Will I receive any training?
    We would expect any organisation that involves volunteers to provide an induction session where you find out what the organisation does, what to expect as a volunteer and how to do the role to the standard expected by the organisation. You may also receive further training to enhance your skills. Training can include attending courses or  being shown what to do.
  • Do I need to wear any specific clothes (or even shoes)?
    In some roles you may be asked to wear clothing for protection or warmth, eg outdoors, or clothing that is appropriate to the role, eg in an office environment or a home environment. It’s better to ask than turn up in something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • I do the school run/I am a carer/I need to attend regular appointments (eg medical or job search) – are the hours flexible?
    Most organisations will provide flexible options that take into consideration your personal needs and circumstances when arranging your volunteering commitment.
  • Will I need a DBS check? (a police check)
    Some volunteer roles require a police criminal records check before you can start to volunteer. You will not have to pay for this yourself as the organisation is responsible for any costs. Volunteer DBS checks are free of charge however the organisation may have to pay an administration fee to the organisation that checks your evidence.
  • If I enjoy volunteering for you, are there any other roles I could get involved in?
    Sometimes volunteers get involved in many different aspects of an organisation – this can be a great way of gaining even more skills and experience so let the organisation know you are interested.
  • I suffer from ill health so that means I may have to stop volunteering for a while. Would I be able to come back when my health improves?
    Organisations understand that many people volunteer to improve their health and therefore also understand that people can relapse or have other health issues that stop them volunteering for a while. Be clear about this when you start to volunteer so that the organisation can help you to take a break when you really need to.
  • Do I have to provide references?
    The organisation will tell you if you have to provide references and who they will accept them from. If you are struggling to provide references talk to the organisation as they may have ideas of who you could ask.
  • I am claiming benefits – will this affect my volunteering?
    Any organisation will advise you to tell the Benefits Agency that you are starting to volunteer, what you will be doing and who you are volunteering for. The Benefits may write to the organisation to confirm this information. In most cases volunteering will not affect your benefits, however you can read more about volunteering whilst on benefits click on this link: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering/volunteering-and-benefits