How to Prepare for a Volunteering Event + Volunteering Etiquette

Be on time. If you have agreed to be somewhere to volunteer at a designated time, show up on time or call if you are running late. Everything is likely running on a tight schedule, so being late will cause trouble for the organizers.

To ensure punctuality, here are some tips. First, search how long the volunteering location is from your home. Remember to take in account the driving time as well as possibilities for accidents on the way when deciding what time to leave your house.

Set a timer on your phone to remind you when it’s time to leave your house! It’s easy to loose track of time, so this will definitely help keep you accountable.

Don’t be a no-show. Many people forget to show up for an event or oversleep. To avoid this, put a reminder on your phone calendar, physical calendar, and/or agenda so you won’t forget the day of.

To prevent oversleeping, set several timers to ensure that you will wake up. Sleep early the night before!

If you commit to volunteer at an event and for some reason find you cannot make it, be sure to call the event coordinator to let them know that you cannot make it as soon as possible so they can find someone.

Be prepared. This goes hand in hand with being on time. As a volunteer, there is a chance you have to sign some forms or bring some food/materials with you. If you prepare all necessary items last minute, not only will you likely forget something, but you will probably end up arriving late.

If the shift is long, consider bringing some water or food!

Read instructions carefully and follow them accordingly. For some volunteering events, there are some specific requirements laid out. For example, when I volunteered with a nursery, I was told to wear sunscreen and closed-toe shoes, bring water, and sign a safety form. All the information given to you is necessary for your task as well as the functioning of the event.

Dress appropriately. This goes along with the previous tip. Some events will specify what is appropriate for the event; for example, marathons will ask you to wear tennis shoes and athletic wear, while some official events will request semi-formal wear. It will be advantageous to follow these rules for your comfort and success.

Aaron Regnier Photography

Know what to expect. You may or may not have chosen a volunteer event where you will experience things much different from your everyday life. Mentally prepare yourself for what might come so you won’t offend anyone around you.

Wear your Lion’s Heart shirt if possible!

Volunteer with a positive attitude. You’ve committed yourself as a Lion’s Heart volunteer, so smile and show that you want to be there. You are both representing yourself and Lion’s Heart.

Be courteous. Say please and thank you. Be respectful of others. You may see things that you are not used to so remember to be compassionate and empathetic towards others at all times while volunteering.

Put your phones away. We know everyone is used to having their cell phone on and in hand, but this is not the appropriate time to be on it. You are here to volunteer, not to use your phone. Using your phone can be a reward after you’re done with volunteering!

Be respectful on social media. Remember you are representing Lion’s Heart every time you share something about your volunteering experience on social media.

Teamwork makes the dream work. You don’t have to agree with other volunteers or the staff, but it’s always possible to get along with everyone. After all, you are now on a team committed to working together to accomplish something worthwhile.

Do the best job you can. What you do as a volunteer reflects your character and how much you care. Be a volunteer that they would want to invite back.

Don’t worry and be happy! Volunteering is fun! You are here to help, but you can enjoy yourself too. Relax and let yourself have a good experience.

Don’t forget — check out your member toolkit on the Lion’s Heart website to see all the resources we offer, one of those being a volunteering etiquette guideline sheet!

Your member toolkit has invaluable information regarding college planning, volunteering ideas, leadership, meetings, and more! Be sure to check it out.

Happy volunteering!


Written by Audrey Xia – Lion’s Heart Intern and Blogger Audrey has been an intern of Lion’s Heart since summer of 2018 and a member since 2015. She enjoys writing, volunteering, and playing soccer.

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