two women and one man talking at a desk. There is paperwork in front of them

It may be you that identifies that volunteering might benefit the person you are supporting. However, they might not yet be into the idea.


If someone hasn’t had exposure to volunteering in the past through family , friends, school, church or sport they may not have any experience to draw from.


Others may know volunteering as a way to help out their community, and is an expectation. This may be the case for people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.


Volunteering has many benefits, which we outline. You can begin by mentioning these to the person you are supporting.

two men sitting on a step outside. one is holding a notebook and gesturing to the other with his hand

There are some other hints and tips which we utilise to encourage a person to consider volunteering. One or more may work in your situation. However, it is always the person’s choice about what they do.

Is there a trusted friend, mentor or confidant that the person is more likely to be open to suggestions from? If so, ask them to help weave volunteering into discussions, to plant a seed of enquiry.

If a person’s main goal is to get a job, plan a pathway to getting a job with them. This may include training or experience. If they identify that getting some experience will help on the resume, ask them ways to get this experience. If they don’t identify volunteering, then include this as a suggestion and then utilise our toolkit to explore the types of volunteering and where to find them, as a starting point.

Check out our “What is volunteering” and see the stories from others who volunteer.


Use different language to describe Volunteering – Helping out – Giving back – Activism – Assisting the community

A young person is practicing boxing. An older man, using a wheelchair is helping them by holding his hands up in front of him

If the person you are supporting has a special interest or skill in a particular subject, explore groups in the community that incorporate this topic or activity. Find out if they can contribute. Approach the group and ask about helping out. Some groups advertise on Humanitix or Eventbrite, just use the key word or words about the interest to search. Or you can check out Facebookyour local council or community centre


If the person you are supporting prefers to learn by using pictures or videos, prepare a social story or series of pictures to show them about volunteering.

Two smiling older ladies in a garden, both holding seedlings in pots

If you feel that there is a volunteering role the person you are supporting might be interested in, plan a visit. You could go to an Op Shop, Community Centre, group, community garden, event or library to see what the volunteers do. They may have some pre-conceived ideas, and a visit may dispel some of them. Sometimes, you might need to make a few visits, especially if the person is anxious in new environments.