Involving volunteers of faith
Inclusive volunteering programmes recognise that people volunteer for different reasons. Everyone offering to volunteer, regardless of their social background or level of ability has something unique that they can offer.
For many volunteers, faith is a strong motivator to offer time and skills to support others. Charity, fairness and social justice are embedded in faith therefore it can be the primary factor in someone’s volunteering.
It is also note worthy that faith centres and congregants are very active in supporting those in need.
Although faith is a strong motivating factor, it is important as volunteers coordinators we are aware that:
- Faith may not be the sole factor that moves someone to volunteers
- Not everyone will have the same level of religious observance so be wary about making assumptions
- Volunteer support and development will include being respectful regarding volunteers faith
- Volunteering needs to be safe, productive and have clarity for everyone involved in the relationship
At this juncture, religion has become associated with geo-political situations. Assuming someone’s political belief based on their religion or dress code is judgemental and can lead to discriminatory and excluding practice or unrealistic expectations. As with any good recruitment and retention process, it is important to be in touch with your volunteer as an individual rather than a representative of a particular grouping.
To avoid any potential areas of difficulty, ensure your volunteering programme covers a safe and fair recruitment process, that during recruitment and induction all volunteers are made aware of your group or cause, what you stand for, how you operate and your ethos. Regardless of, or because of faith, it is these areas that may be the attraction for someone to volunteer with you.