Guidelines for a Successful Volunteer Experience

Overall Guidelines

  • For the entire volunteer experience, you are representing yourself, your team or organization and Butler University. Your actions will reflect on all of these parties.
  • Respect the organizational culture at the service agency. The people working at the organization have the experience with and commitment to the agency. Share your ideas and feedback in a constructive manner.
  • Please dress appropriately for the type of service you will be conducting. If you are in an office setting, dress should be at a minimum business casual. If you are working outdoors or with some hands-on project, remember to wear close toed shoes and other protective outerwear.
  • Treat the experience as a learning opportunity and a chance for personal growth as well as a team building activity for your group or organization.
  • Although you may not see the immediate outcome of the service you perform, there can be value in every volunteer project, even the most simple. Your presence as a volunteer is appreciated and essential to the organization with which you are working.
  • Remember that you are at a site to volunteer and some service projects may push you beyond your comfort zone. Be open to new experiences and challenges but be aware of your boundaries and voice any questions or concerns.

When You First Arrive at the Site

  • Locate the service site supervisor to discuss project expectations and goals. Make sure you are clear as to your role within an organization.
  • Request a tour of the agency to learn more about its mission and functions.
  • Be the first to introduce yourself to everyone you meet and let them know you are a volunteer from Butler.

Confidentiality and Risk Management Concerns

  • If you are feeling uncertain about a situation, ask before you act. Practice common sense and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or help.
  • When requested by the agency to move off-site to serve, travel in pairs (at minimum).
  • If you are working with children or clients who are members of the opposite sex, always be in the presence of another adult.
  • Do not share personal contact information with service site clients. If you feel that this would be appropriate, discuss it with the site supervisor.
  • Keep any information pertaining to service agency clients confidential, including full names and medical conditions. There are confidentiality laws that pertain to certain information.
  • If you have any concerns regarding the safety or well being of a client, please share this information with the service site supervisor.
  • Be aware that you can say “NO” to a task when you feel the request is inappropriate, beyond your skill level and depth of knowledge or if you perceive a situation to be unsafe physically or emotionally.

This list is not exhaustive. Always follow the rules and regulations of a given service site.

Know your rights as a volunteer. When in doubt…ask and find out!