If you have retired recently, you must be excited to welcome your new-found freedom. Retirement is the start of your new journey – to acquire new hobbies, meet new friends, and explore new places. Volunteering is a meaningful way to spend your time after retirement. It not only feels great to contribute to your community, it serves as a great opportunity for you to create new bonds and friendships. Before you start volunteering, you will need to explore various volunteer organizations to figure out the cause you would like to support. Here are 7 questions you should ask.
Get to Know Them
- Is your company nonprofit, for-profit, or a non-government organization?
Before you offer your time volunteering, or even money for donations, it is important to understand the nature of the company. You would want to know where your unpaid time, energy and money is going into if you are going to invest it in them. How much of your personal resources is going into the cause you support depends on this.
- Will I receive any form of training?
For certain volunteering roles, especially if you are working with animals or a vulnerable population, training or orientation is required to help you make the most of your time spent. Good volunteer organizations should have policies and procedures that they follow, and offer development opportunities to help their volunteers improve themselves. It helps you become the best version of yourself to better support your cause.
- Can I speak to former volunteers?
The best way for you to get an idea of your volunteering experience would be to speak to current or previous volunteers. You can also get to know the volunteering culture, and any useful advice or tips. Try to request for at least three references.
Managing Your Expectations
- Is there a minimum weekly or monthly time commitment?
Before committing yourself to a volunteer organization, you would want to find out if they require you to volunteer on a regular basis or a certain number of hours to remain active. This is important so you can plan your schedule ahead if required.
- What are my responsibilities for this role?
It is important to know your responsibilities for the role, and what is expected of you. This is to better manage your expectations for your volunteering experience, and be mentally prepared for the effort you have to put in. If what is expected of you is something you are not comfortable with doing, such as having too much physical labor, you can look for other volunteering alternatives.
- Are there volunteer fees? If so, what would be included?
Some volunteer organizations mandate a volunteer fee meant to pay for training and facilitation. If you are going on a trip to another city or country to volunteer, this volunteer fee would be higher. You should check if the fee includes senior-friendly amenities, accommodation, food, travel insurance and transportation.
- What happens if I am unhappy with my volunteering experience? Are there any costs associated if I were to leave earlier, and will I be issued a refund?
In the event that you are feeling uncomfortable with your experience at any time, and you would like to take your leave earlier than expected, you should get to know the volunteer organization’s policies on this.