Frequently asked questions:

I have limited mobility - can I still volunteer?

Whether due to a lack of transportation, time constraints, a disability or other reasons, many people prefer to volunteer via phone or computer. There are many projects where you can help. Writing and graphic design lends itself to working at home, and in today's digital age many organisations might also need help with email and websites.  

If you think home-based volunteering might be right for you, contact organisations you like and ask what some of the possibilities might be. Some volunteer organisations may require you to attend an initial training or periodical meetings. You also want to make sure that you are getting enough social contact, and that the organisation is available to support you should you have questions.

How much time can I take for volunteer leave?

The volunteer leave can be taken as a full day or half day but must fall on a workday. In order to ensure organisational demands are met, staff are to discuss the volunteer leave with their Supervisor (especially if it involves a team of staff being out of the office) and a leave application has to be signed off before the volunteering takes place. A maximum of 2 days per year (pro rata for part time employees) can be taken each year.

What should I do if the organisation I want to volunteer with charges a fee or requests a monetary donation?

Volunteer organisations will often charge a fee or expect a donation for corporate volunteering or team volunteering days. This fee is to cover the costs of the organisation to set up your experience and devote staff to assist you. However, due to the way we are set up as a non-profit organisation, the University is unable to donate money. Usually, once you explain this to the volunteer organisation they will waive the fee. Instead, endeavour to collect donations from your department. Check with the volunteer organisation to see what kind of things they need. For example, when Macquarie Sustainability volunteered at the Dog and Cat Shelter, they undertook a drive to collect donations of food, blankets and pet toys to donate to the Shelter.

Who can I volunteer with?

You can volunteer with community-based non-profit organisations, charitable groups and groups identified in need of assistance. This means you can volunteer with an organisation which:
  • exists for the public benefit
  • provides for the relief of poverty
  • has charitable purposes, within the legal sense of that term
  • is non-profit, and
  • exists solely for charitable purposes

Examples include:

  • The Salvation Army
  • The Australian Red Cross
  • Reading for Life
  • Bushcare@MQ
  • Conservation Volunteers
  • Indigenous Community Volunteers
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • Amnesty International
  • Meals on Wheels

Suggested organisations and their contact details can be found by visiting here.

You cannot volunteer with an organisation which is:

  • primarily for sporting, recreational or social purposes
  • primarily for political, lobbying or promotional purposes
  • illegal or against public policy, or
  • carrying on a commercial enterprise to generate surpluses.

Examples include:

  • a school canteen or school fete
  • a garage sale
  • an organisation whose principles conflict with the University's values eg an organisation that incites hatred or violence.

Why would a company such as Macquarie University offer staff volunteer leave?

To better understand why companies invest in corporate volunteering programs such as ours, check out Chris Jarvis' blog below:

Do you have further questions about volunteering?  Check to see if we've answered them below, and if not contact us at volunteer@mq.edu.au

Go on, give a hand and make a difference! Don't forget to take some photos of your volunteering experience and spread the good word amongst your colleagues!

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