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Volunteering - Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions about volunteering? We've answered some frequently asked questions to help you out. If you can't find the answer to your question, or you need more information, please get in touch with us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk and one of the team will be happy to help.

General

Why should I volunteer?

Volunteering not only benefits the community and local charities, but it can also benefit yourself. You will gain the experience of helping others and supporting a local charity, make new friends and you'll hopefully have lots of fun and develop useful skills, which will look great on your CV. You can log volunteering hours, and you will receive certificates when you reach a volunteering milestone.

Do I need any previous experience or skills?

Volunteering is accessible to everyone, most charities simply ask for enthusiasm and commitment. Some organisations, however, may ask for specific skills or previous experience. This should be stated in the role description.

How do I get started?

You can make a start by checking out the latest opportunities on the Students' Union website and find out how we can support you into volunteering. You can then apply via the website once you've created your account, or email us at volunteering@shu.ac.ukif you need any help, or have any questions about registering.

How do I search for volunteer opportunities?

There are lots of different ways that you can volunteer at Sheffield Hallam Students' Union depending on how much time you would like to contribute and your area of interest. We have:

Volunteering Opportunities page

This is the main way you can get involved with organisations locally, or virtually. We have links with charities and organisations throughout the region, as well as being partnered with Voluntary Action Sheffield, so whatever you're looking for, there's usually something for everyone. You can volunteer alone, with a friend or sometimes as a group, dependent on the role!

 

The opportunities on our main volunteering page are a mix of regular roles and some that are for set periods of time. Be sure to check time commitment and role duration when you apply to make sure it's the right fit for your circumstances.

 

Take a look at our current volunteering roles.

One-off/Give it a Go opportunities

These opportunities allow you to try out a volunteering activity as a one off with no long term commitment, giving you the opportunity to try out a variety of different activities whilst helping out in the community, building your CV, or just having fun! Keep an eye on the What's on calendar for these events or take a look at the Volunteering Opportunities Page and select "One off/Give it a Go" from the search filter.

Volunteering Societies

We have lots of societies for you to get involved with and some of these focus on volunteering as a group – take a look on the societies webpage for more information.

Virtual Volunteering

A perfect way to get involved with volunteering whilst spending time at home and wanting something completely flexible. Find out more about virtual volunteering.

 

Some of the roles on our Volunteering Opportunities Page can also be done from home, so be sure to check the "Location" section of the role information when applying to find the right opportunity for you.

How do I get involved?

Each opportunity should have instructions on the next steps but they are usually:

Volunteering Opportunities page

You can apply for any of the opportunities on our main volunteering page directly through the website, once you have created your account. Simply click on the opportunity you're interested in, read more and then click apply! Your contact information will be shared with the organisation you're interested in.

Virtual Volunteering

Please follow the links in each of the role profiles.

Volunteering Societies

Please register for your free membership via their pages or contact them directly via the emails on their page.

One-off/Give it a Go

You can apply for one-off or Give it a Go opportunities directly through the website. Follow the same steps as our Volunteering Opportunities page.

Can I volunteer at anytime during my time at Hallam?

Yes, it's never too late to volunteer and there are volunteering opportunities on offer throughout the year. Take a look at our opportunities.

 

Please note, that some projects only run during semesters 1 and 2 and so places may only be available towards the beginning of the academic year. If you are unsure or need any help choosing a project, email the volunteering team at volunteering@shu.ac.uk.

I am an international student. Can I volunteer?

All students, including short-term students, can volunteer with a charity, or voluntary sector organisation. This is a great opportunity for international students to meet local people and practice their English.

Please contact the International Experience Team for guidance on your eligability to volunteer. Simply follow this link

 

 

 

 

I'm not a student at Sheffield Hallam University - can I still volunteer with you?

Unfortunately you won't be able to volunteer with us, but you can contact your local volunteer centre/Voluntary Action Sheffield (VAS) who will be able to provide you with lots of volunteering opportunities.

What's expected of me as a volunteer?

For a full list of your rights and responsibilities as a volunteer, have a look at our volunteer policy

How many hours do I need to volunteer per week?

Sheffield Hallam Students' Union offers an extensive selection of volunteering opportunities ranging from weekly to one-off events, which means the time commitment varies. You can commit as much or as little time as you want. Even if you're short of time, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved with! Have a look at our webpages to find out more about specific project requirement or email us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk.

Can I get involved in more than one opportunity?

Of course you can, as long as you feel you have the time (and energy!) to commit. Have a look at our webpages to see the range of opportunities on offer.

I am already volunteering; do I need to let you know?

Yes please - do let us know, as we offer awards and sometimes recognition events for volunteers. You can log your volunteer hours on your profile via our website. Simply follow this link and click on "log your hours". Your logged hours count towards volunteering awards.

 

We also sometimes invite volunteers to training and meetups throughout the year and, if you are happy to, we can feature you as a case study to promote the charity that you volunteer with to other Hallam Students.

I'd like to volunteer overseas - do you have any international opportunities?

We do not have any international projects available as Sheffield Hallam Students' Union work primarily with local organisations, within the community, or with national organisations for some virtual volunteer opportunities.

Our sports club/society would like to volunteer as a group - what's the next step?

Here at SHSU we offer the opportunity for members of societies and sports clubs to volunteer together and share their skills and experiences through both regular and one-off volunteering events. If your society or sports club is interested in volunteering, or has an idea for a project, please email volunteering@shu.ac.uk or book an appointment for a chat.

How do travel and expenses work?

We aim to ensure most of our volunteer opportunities are accessible via public transport and we can help you to work out a route to and from your volunteering.

 

For some internally organised projects, we will organise transport. If this is the case, you will be notified upon application.

 

We ask all the organisations we work with to cover volunteer travel expenses as a minimum, and we cover travel expenses up the value of a day-saver bus ticket for other opportunities, so transport to and from your opportunity should never leave you out of pocket.

 

Please ask either the external organisation you are volunteering with, or a member of our team about how to get your travel expenses reimbursed. You can also request a copy of our expenses policy by emailing us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk.

I may need extra support to volunteer

The volunteering team are here to support you whilst you volunteer so please just email us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk if you have any questions or concerns and we will try to help as much as we can.

I can't find the right volunteering role for me

If nothing appeals to you on our website, please either email us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk or book an appointment with us and we will try to find you a suitable role which may not be currently on our website.


DBS Checks

What is a DBS check?

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) carry out police and identity checks for all volunteers working in any capacity with children or vulnerable adults. For more information, please view our DBS FAQs.

What kinds of ID can I use for my DBS form?

There are many different types of identification that you can use to support your DBS application. View a full list of identification documents that are accepted. We have more information in our DBS FAQs.

Do all opportunities need a DBS check?

No, DBS checks are not required for all opportunities. However, they are essential for projects working with children or vulnerable adults, including all schools projects. If you're unsure whether you need to complete a DBS check, email volunteering@shu.ac.uk.


Training and Accreditation

What training opportunities do you offer?

Many opportunities will have specific training requirements which are compulsory for all volunteers. For specific information on training sessions or requirements, talk to your contact at the organisation you are volunteering for, or member of the SHSU volunteering team on volunteering@shu.ac.uk.

 

 

Can I still volunteer if I've missed the training session(s) for an education project?

The training sessions for some projects are compulsory, for example safeguarding, so if you've missed a session unfortunately you won't be able to join the project this academic year. Many training sessions are held more than once so be sure to check for full details of these.

Can I achieve an award for my volunteering?

Your commitment to volunteering should be recognised and celebrated. As volunteers, you will be encouraged to log your volunteering hours to receive our volunteering certificates.

 

Achievements in volunteering are also sometimes recognised through organised events throughout the year.

Does volunteering count towards my course/module?

Volunteering is a great way to build experience, gain a reference, add something to your CV and it can be used in your Hallam Award. Talk to the volunteering team if you are looking for a volunteering role to do for your course.


Getting more involved

I have an idea for a new project - can you help me set it up?

If you have an idea for a project, you may be able to set up your own volunteering society to bring your idea to life. Please check the societies page for more information on setting up a society!

I'm interested in a career in the voluntary sector - do you have any information for me?

We recommend that you contact the Sheffield Hallam University Careers team who can provide you with a lot of information on working in the charity and voluntary sector and direct you to the appropriate resources.


References

How do I get a reference?

Unfortunately, SHSU are not able to provide in depth character references for volunteers. If you have taken part in an internal role with SHSU we are only able to confirm the dates you volunteered and the types of skill the role will have developed.

 

If you have volunteered with an external charity, you should contact them directly to see if they can provide a reference.


Information for Organisations

How do I share my volunteering opportunity with students?

We offer a brokerage service that matches local Community Action or Work Experience volunteering roles to our students via our website, social media channels, Volunteering Fairs, via 1-2-1 support and through our links at Hallam University. The first step for getting your roles listed with us and promoted to our students is to create your provider account on our website.

This is a quick and easy process where you will fill in information about your organisation, upload your logo and any policy/insurance information and tell us a little bit more about the sorts of activities volunteers might get involved in.

 

Once approved, you will be able to list opportunities, communicate with volunteers and track recruitment of your roles.

 

Begin your registration

 

Log-in once your account is created

 

If you have any questions, please email us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk.

What do I need to have/do to be able to start recruiting students for my opportunity?

When we advertise volunteering roles, we require organisations to have or do the following as a minimum:

  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Risk Assessments for all volunteering activities and the premises
  • Cover expenses for volunteers (travel, and lunch where applicable), unless discussed in advance with the SHSU Charities Engagement and Volunteering team
  • A Volunteer Agreement / Policy
  • Accommodate any support needs Sheffield Hallam student volunteers may have, as is reasonably practicable
  • A GDPR policy in place to cover volunteers' information

Read more about our terms.

 

If you have any queries, you can email us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk.

Is my volunteering opportunity suitable for Sheffield Hallam University Students?

Sheffield Hallam University is home to over 32,000 students, so offers an intrinsically diverse group of people with a range of interests and skills.

 

We welcome opportunities from local organisations that are either in-person or virtual, or from national organisations that can be undertaken virtually. We are unable to list opportunities that take place outside of the country or leave students out of pocket.

 

Your opportunity can be recurrent, for a set period of time, or even just a one-off. Please see the FAQ "How do I search for volunteer opportunities?" for more information on how we categorise opportunities.

 

At this time, we are unable to promote placement opportunities, but flexible opportunities that serve as work experience as well as being of benefit to a wider cause or to the community are encouraged.

 

To be approved as a volunteering provider with us, you will need to meet our minimum quality standards (see the FAQ "What do I need to have/do to be able to start recruiting students for my opportunity?"). Your opportunity will also need to be flexible, accessible for all, and benefit the volunteer in some way (such as providing work experience), as well as serving the community or helping to achieve a charitable purpose.

 

If you're unsure whether or not your opportunity is suitable, email us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk for a chat.

How do increase interest in my opportunity?

Make sure when you list your opportunity that you have ticked the relevant boxes on the "Areas of interest" and "Employability Skills" tabs. These help students filter opportunities and find roles that suit their circumstances or requirements.

 

It is also useful to make sure you've filled out the role description section of your opportunity listing as thoroughly as possible. The "Benefits to self" and "Benefits to others" boxes are a great way to explain to a potential volunteer why volunteering with your organisation can help them develop themselves and their skill set, and what passions they might share with your organisation. You can also include an organisation biography and embed website or YouTube links within the "More Information" box on your provider details page.

 

If you feel you're not generating the interest you had hoped, please email us on volunteering@shu.ac.uk. We would be happy to chat with you about ways we can increase engagement with your opportunity. This could include us getting in touch with a specific course that is relevant to your role, or even a society that shares similar interests.