INCLUSION IN VOLUNTEERING
By reflecting on the following we would hope that these points would help you make your volunteering offer more inclusive:
1. Firstly, ask yourself, why do you want to make your volunteering offer more Inclusive?
2. People will see themselves in your volunteer programme - It’s important that you understand this as you will need to encourage people from under-represented groups within your community to engage with your volunteering offer.
3. Let people know that you are inclusive – It’s important that you explain to people that your group/organisation welcomes and encourages applications from underrepresented groups as this will encourage people to consider your offer.
4. Ask for help - Make contact with member led organisations; charities; service providers and community groups that engage with under-represented groups and see what support/ guidance they can give you
5. Supporting volunteers - Make it clear to all potential volunteers that your group/ organisation is keen to understand and address every individual’s support needs if possible and that your group/ organisation is happy to discuss this openly with any potential volunteer. Ensure that volunteers know that they can discuss concerns or problems in confidence at any time and that regular support is offered.
6. Become more aware of what is stopping people from engaging in your volunteering offer - Think about the possible barriers that might prevent a potential volunteer from getting involved with your group/ organisation e.g. child care commitments, lack of qualifications, convictions, disability, distance, income, the environment, the role or limited experience, a perception that it’s not for them Try to work out how your group/ organisation might break down these barriers and becomes more inclusive.
7. Be welcoming - Before a person commits to your group/ organisation, make it easy for them to have an informal discussion/s or opportunities to get to know your group/ organisation and the volunteering offer.
8. Make it easy to apply and get involved - Keep the paper work simple and light, avoid intimidating application forms and processes.
9. Volunteer expenses (transport, lunches etc.) - Consider Payments in advance rather than seeking reimbursement for volunteers who may have low income or who may need this support. Also, not all volunteers can travel by public transport so what are the alternatives?
10.Create your volunteering roles in a more flexible way - Tailor your volunteer roles to suit the individual’s strengths, interests and aspirations. Also, think about what the person would like to do and what their motivation for volunteering is (ask them in the application process) and not just what you would like them to do. Why not negotiate the hours, ask if can certain tasks be done at home, can we create a task for the person?