Volunteering: How to get started

volunteering and why you should join

How to get started with volunteering

Most people agree that volunteering is a worthwhile thing to do and that giving freely of our time to support others commendable. A lot of people think about becoming a volunteer but question whether volunteering is something they can do.

What can I offer? Do I have the time? Do I have the right skills or experience? Can I fit volunteering in with my other work, life, and family commitments? Can I still go on holidays or visit the grandchildren interstate each year?  Will working with people or animals in need be distressing? What if I start volunteer work and then don’t like it?

Rethinking volunteering

rethinking volunteering

If we believe that volunteering is a worthwhile thing to do but keep getting stuck at the ‘Can I’ or ‘What ifs’, then taking the steps to become a volunteer may seem too hard or possibly not happen.

So, lets reset the view finder and think of volunteering as ‘me time with benefits’ – taking time out from everyday responsibilities to do something you really enjoy, that fits with your lifestyle and commitments, and for a cause you believe in  or a community group you would like to support.  Confidently seeking out the right volunteer opportunities available and experiencing the fun and personal reward volunteer work can bring.

Volunteering: how to get started

If you’re thinking of volunteering, but unsure where to start, this article is for you. ACH Group’s volunteer manager – Tay Parker has put together a few tips to get you started.

Identify what you really like to do

Cooking, reading, shopping, going to the movies, walking dogs, having a drink with friends, watching or playing sport, going to concerts, listening to music, singing, fixing things, gardening, painting, sewing, discussing politics, watching TV – whatever you really enjoy doing or find interesting.

Identify where, how and when you would like to do volunteer work  

With a large or small group of people, by yourself or with only one other person, locally, in the city, at the beach,  for a few months or on an on-going basis, once a week or fortnight, once or twice a year – whatever works for you and fits in with your life.

Identify any interests, causes or community groups you would like to support

Environment, local politics, women’s issues, refugees, aged care, homelessness, arts funding, community safety, animal rescue – whatever you feel connected to, interested in, passionate about, want to make a difference to, or help with. If you’re an advocate for supporting good lives for older people, then joining a volunteering group at a residential care home is the right fit for you. If you’re into women’s health, finding a volunteering group that supports the cause will bring fulfilments to your life.

Once you’ve identified what you really enjoy doing, how, when and where you want to volunteer, and what cause or community group you’d like to support then finding a range of volunteering options is easy.

Both Volunteering SA & NT and Seek Volunteering provide easy to access websites with a broad range of volunteering opportunities within Adelaide and South Australia. Follow their search options to locate a match with a volunteer role that best suits you. Both these sites are updated daily so take your time to find the right volunteering option.

It’s always a good idea to contact a few different agencies or organisations seeking volunteers with your interests and availability requirements. That way you can explore the role, tasks and work environment that’s a best fit for you – enjoy!

ACH Group Volunteer Program Vacancies for 2023– Can you help?

We currently seek volunteers to assist with the following Residential and Community based social, wellbeing, and support programs.

Who should I contact?

If you are interested in becoming an ACH Group Volunteer, we’d love to hear from you.

Please contact: Cate Balfour-Ogilvy Volunteer Services Manager (Tuesday – Friday)
0418 966 265
[email protected]

National Volunteer Week 2020: Our Volunteer Stories


At ACH Group, we are proud to have dedicated and wonderful volunteers who support our vision of good lives for older people. Although Volunteer Week this year may look a bit different due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it doesn’t stop us from celebrating our incredible volunteers and their valuable contribution.

Daphne brings books to ViTA


This story is about Daphne Hazell who has brought her passion for reading to share with the community.

Daphne Hazell has spent most of her life surrounded by books and, at 91, has just set up her ninth library.

Daphne drew on her many years as a librarian, including 27 years at Sacred Heart College, to establish the library at ViTA, Daw Park.

Many of the 1000+ books and a book trolley have been re-homed from the Repatriation General Hospital library, where Daphne volunteered for 15 years.

The ViTA library was made possible thanks to a $1,200 grant from the ACH Group Foundation for Older Australians, allowing a room to be set up with shelving, a children’s corner and cataloguing materials.

Residents, staff and family members at ViTA have donated hundreds of books, catalogued by Daphne and her team of volunteers using a system of colour coding and subject, title and author cards.

“We’re using a simple system – we’re not doing decimal points – and we have a sign-in book here, so that if someone wants to come and borrow they can do that at any time.”

Residents, staff and family are welcome to browse and borrow, and three days a week volunteers ‘do the rounds’, visiting residents in their rooms with magazines, books and DVDs.

A fan of non-fiction, Daphne says reading is a wonderful way to spend your time.

“There are a lot of places I would have loved to go, but I’ve never felt like I missed out because I can read a book and it takes me there.”

Daphne says she has always enjoyed working as a volunteer. She first volunteered at the age of 16 as a Sunday school kindergarten teacher because senior teachers were being sent to the War.

She was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her services to the Clovelly Park community in 2012 for her many years’ contribution to school, sports clubs, libraries and the Salvation Army.

“You’re never too old to get enjoyment from volunteering,” she says. “It means you have companionship and it makes you feel better in yourself, too. Volunteering has helped me to live, not just exist.”

Cambodia calling


This story is about another amazing volunteer who has brought the community closer together through her passion to celebrate cultural diversity and religious belief.

Sharon Kelsey is used to standing out from the crowd. As a dedicated Buddhist, she is the only non-Cambodian to attend Friday morning meditation at the Khmer Buddhist temple in MacDonald Park. She’s also a volunteer with ACH Group’s Cambodian Program which brings together members of the Cambodian (Khmer) community each week to dance and share a meal.

“I always stick out, especially when we go on excursions, but I don’t care,” she says. “I love being here and spending time with this community – they’re just beautiful.”

Sharon, 63, became a volunteer two years ago and has been working with ACH Group Support Worker Chamarn Chan to edit a book about the Cambodian community’s experiences with the Pol Pot regime, set to be published by the end of the year.

Many of South Australia’s 10,000-strong Khmer community fled persecution and hardship inflicted by the regime in the 1980s. During that time, many people were killed and forced into hard labour.

For Sharon, who has a very basic understanding of Cambodian, hearing her friends’ stories was a moving experience. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve done,” she says. “These are the people I have come to know, and to hear what they have been through is just so hard. And it makes our little problems seem trivial – we’re all so, so lucky.”

Sharon has been a Buddhist since her 30s, drawn to its teachings. “Buddhism teaches you to take responsibility; that every mistake you’ve made in life is a lesson,” she says. “It’s about working out how to become a better person, to sit there and think about and sort out your problems.”

If you are keen to become a volunteer with ACH Group, call 1300 22 44 77 or visit our website to learn more: https://achgroup.org.au/work-with-us/volunteers/