The Most Desirable Volunteer Characteristics:
Our local family & children’s charity has been fortunate enough to have been training volunteers for more than 30 years. In our experience as a voluntary organisation; these are the key volunteer characteristics that we most sought after. Let’s explore them in more detail.
Passion – In any volunteerism, a passion for the cause is vital. As a Home-Start volunteer, you will likely share our charity’s core values. We believe that all children deserve the best start in life. As such, you will be passionate about supporting children and their families in your local community.
Enthusiasm – Similar to having a passion for our cause, you will be enthusiastic about becoming part of our team. Volunteering with us can be a very rewarding experience. Gaining new skills and hands-on experience are also excellent motivators for getting involved.
Personal growth – All our volunteers receive useful training at their induction. A desire for personal development as well as increasing your skills is an important volunteer characteristic to have. We find it is those who are keen to learn that get the most out of their voluntary work.
Committed & Reliable – Many families with young children and babies ask us for help each year. They are struggling to cope with a variety of issues, and we always aim for our volunteers to not miss appointments without notice. Basic organisational skills are characteristics wanted as a potential volunteer. Trustworthy volunteers are reliable. If you say you are going to be somewhere and dedicate your time, then a good volunteer will do just that. For example, the families we support look forward to visits from our volunteers so it can be disappointing for both the parents and children if they do not turn up. There are obviously occasions when this can’t be helped, but a courtesy phone call is all it takes to maintain the trust that has been built up over previous visits.
Team players – Every Home-Start volunteer has an assigned coordinator who is there to support them in their role. You will also meet and take part in training with other new volunteers. As such, being a team player is one of the good qualities in a person we look for and an essential skill as a volunteer.
Positive role models – Both parents and children who ask for our support are in need of caring volunteers who can provide practical and emotional support. Simply put, our volunteers are people guiding families through difficult times in their lives. Because of this, you will be a role model, nurturing positive family life. There are lots of traits that can make you a positive role model, leading to a successful outcome for the families you help.
Friendliness – Our volunteers work directly with young children and parents. Having good interpersonal and communication skills will go a long way in your voluntary work. Being friendly, approachable and having people skills are vital volunteer characteristics for directly helping others. Friendly people don’t necessarily smile all the time, but a genuinely warm person will enjoy meeting people and making new friends.
Confidentiality – Possibly the most vital of the volunteer characteristics we want. There are aspects of volunteering to help others that requires information to remain confidential. Trustworthiness is crucial to our charity and the local families we support. Being able to keep confidences is of the utmost importance. There can be no trust without a level of confidentiality between volunteers and the people they are supporting (In our case this is a requirement). If there is no trust established, then there can be no way to have an open and honest conversation. Trust is one of the crucial factors that make a good volunteer.
“Volunteering has given me a purpose in life – I didn’t think I had anything to offer but now realise that I’ve got lots of experiences.” – A Home-Start Central Bedfordshire Volunteer.
Compassion – Being compassionate means having empathy for others. Compassion is one of the most inspirational qualities of a volunteer. Our Home-Start volunteers have a kind nature and enjoy helping others to feel better about themselves. The ability to understand how someone else is feeling and help support them through charitable work is a gift.
“I feel so much more reassured as a Mum because my volunteer points out all the positive things I do.” – A Home-Start Family.
Commitment – Being willing to give a few hours a week makes all the difference to someone in need. Although there are no monetary rewards, there are substantial personal rewards from knowing that you have made a real positive difference to someone else’s life. Some of our volunteers have been with our charity for years. However, the commitment each one of our volunteers shows is exceptional. It is because of good people like you that our charity exists.
“My volunteer helped me get out of the house. I suffered from anxiety, and she helped me get through it.” – A Home-Start Central Bedfordshire Family.
Patience – Building trust takes time and patience. Being a good listener is much more than just sitting quietly and nodding your head. It’s about being attentive and having a genuine interest in what the person you are talking to has to say. Above all else a good listener helps by focusing on the positive points, instilling confidence and being a shoulder to cry on if needed. Building trust leads to friendships that enable volunteers to support families. Patience is one of the admirable qualities of a volunteer.
“It’s the little things my volunteer does; like asking how I am and remembering the things I say” –
A Home-Start Central Bedfordshire Family.
Resourcefulness – We often don’t recognise resourcefulness in our day to day lives, it is only in reflection that we realise how we have solved problems. As a non-profit organisation, we are always limited by the resources available to help those in need. Directly working in the home, it is our volunteers who often find solutions to problems parents may be having. Sometimes these solutions are creative; most are straightforward, for example, directing a parent to useful information online.
Respect – The situations life throws at us are often out of our control. Everyone has different strengths and abilities, and our volunteers understand this. Having respect for one another leads to an open conversation where negative issues get discussed while focusing on the positives and solutions. Sometimes all people need is a friendly face and a good chat to get problems off their chest! All Home-Start volunteers are respectful and non-judgemental people, representing a foundation value of our charity.
“My volunteer is the only person I have who I can talk to openly and honestly.” – A Home-Start Central Bedfordshire Family.
Do you have the key volunteer characteristics we look for? Find out more about joining our team of volunteers.