Volunteering Frequently Asked Questions
I am thinking about volunteering. What should I consider?
Think about your interests, skills, and/or career plans- this will help you decide where you might be a great fit to volunteer. Do you like to work within a group or do you prefer to work on your own? Your volunteer role should match your personality, life experiences, skills and availability.
Is there a time commitment?
Many volunteer programs require a minimum commitment of 30 hours of service over a period of six months, however; depending on the program and time of year, a more flexible commitment is possible. Please discuss this and your availability with the Volunteer Services staff.
How long are the volunteer shifts and how often am I expected to volunteer?
Volunteer shifts are usually 2-4 hours long and most programs require volunteers to come in a minimum of two times per month.
How to get started
To become an SHA volunteer, you need to start by filling out an application form, outlining where you would like to volunteer. You will then be interviewed by one of our Volunteer Services staff and be asked for screening documentation (dependent on the volunteer role you will be performing):
- Two written references
- Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Search
- Parental Consent Form, if applicable for youth between 14-16 years
- Signed Confidentiality agreement
You will also need to attend orientation and training sessions. Once your training is complete, you are ready to begin and enjoy the wonderful benefits of volunteering.
How old do you have to be to volunteer?
Volunteers must be at least 14 years old; however there are some positions where volunteers must be a minimum of 18 years of age.
Is there opportunity to move from one volunteer role to another?
Yes, once your current position commitment is finished we can help you to look at other volunteer opportunities. We encourage you to seek new challenges and opportunities; depending upon your time availability, you may wish to offer your services in more than one role.
What can I expect from the Volunteer Services Department?
We commit to offering you a supportive and well-managed volunteer position. We offer orientation and training to all registered volunteers.
- We provide you with information that clearly outlines your volunteer role.
- We recognize you for your contributions and accomplishments in both formal and informal ways
- We offer ongoing education for both personal and volunteer growth.
- We offer letters of reference when applicable
What does the Volunteer Services Department expect of me?
When you apply and are registered to be a volunteer, you will be asked to agree to follow the Volunteer Code of Conduct laid out in the SHA Workplace Expectations Policy SHA-06-007, including:
- participate in orientation, training and any ongoing learning opportunities;
- follow all SHA policies and procedures;
- work within the boundaries of your volunteer assignment description;
- act as an ambassador for the volunteer program and behave in a manner, both on and off-duty, that does not discredit the reputation of the SHA;
- take responsibility for actions and decisions you make while volunteering;
- will not make public statements to the media without prior approval from Volunteer Services;
- let us know if you have any questions or concerns;
- identify and disclose any conflict of interest or legal barriers to volunteering and avoid situations where self-interest classes with my professional responsibilities; and
- approach your volunteer assignment as a professional commitment.
Failure to adhere to any part of the Code of Conduct may result in corrective action and/or termination of your volunteer relationship with SHA.
If I have a Criminal Record can I still apply to volunteer?
A criminal record does not automatically result in not being accepted as a volunteer; each situation will be evaluated by the Volunteer Services team.
How long does the process to become a registered volunteer take?
It will take approximately 2-4 weeks to become a registered volunteer. Our goal is to contact you within 1 week after receiving your online application form and 72 hours after receiving all other required information from the applicant (Criminal Record Check, confidentiality agreement and reference forms).
The process does require the submission of forms by the applicant. The time it takes an applicant to submit forms can either lengthen or shorten the time it takes to complete this process. This time is factored into our process time.