We have compiled some frequently asked questions and answers which will help you on your volunteer journey.
Is there an email I can use to ask questions?
Yes, there is. For anything volunteering related, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and our friendly team will get back to you as soon as possible.
How do I become an RSBC volunteer?
It is always good to identify what volunteering opportunity is the right one for you. This means looking into available volunteering opportunities (you can find more information on our “Volunteer For Us” section, half way down our Support Us page) and deciding how much time you are happy to commit. If you are struggling at any point, please get in touch and we will guide you through different options to volunteer.
I want to volunteer – what are the next steps to becoming an RSBC volunteer?
Great, you found a volunteering role that you feel fits your skills, experience, development needs, time commitment and life circumstances.
Start by filling in the online form and we will be in touch to arrange a time to have a virtual chat. We will talk through the volunteering opportunities and will answer any questions you might have. This can take anything from 15 to 45 minutes, it really depends how chatty we are.
After the call, we will ask you to complete a DBS check and provide contact details for 2 references. We will give you all the instructions that will help you to do that.
When this is completed, you will have to attend volunteer training consisting of 2 parts – a General Volunteer Induction and training relevant to your role (e.g. specific training, sighted-guide training, mentor induction training). At the moment our trainings are held online and can be attended either in the afternoon/ evening or on a weekend.
Once all the above steps are completed, you will become an RSBC approved volunteer and will be able to join our volunteering opportunities.
Please note that the whole process can take anything from 2 weeks to up to a month, depending on a volunteering role.
Do I have to volunteer all the time?
No, your volunteering commitment depends on how you want to support us, your lifestyle and your other commitments (work, university, hobbies, family, friends etc.). You will always have control over your volunteering time as most of our volunteering opportunities are very flexible.
How much time do I need to commit for volunteering for RSBC?
This really depends on your time and other life commitments. You can volunteer only once (one-off events volunteering) – this can be either 10 minutes or one hour. On the other hand, you can volunteer regularly, once a month or several times a week. This depends on your time and you can always increase or decrease your volunteering involvement.
Are your volunteer opportunities face-to-face or online?
At the moment all our volunteer opportunities happen online. We use the Zoom platform mainly and all the details on how to log in will be provided to you once you start volunteering for us. This means you will need a device you can connect to the internet (smart phone, tablet, laptop or PC) and broadband.
In the past (and we hope in the future as well), our face-to-face activities were held in venues across London and when volunteering you would be able to choose which part of the city works best for you.
Do I need to be tech savvy to volunteer online?
Not really, basic knowledge of how to use electronic devices should be ok. However, if you feel you need additional explanation, please do let us know and we will be happy to provide a specific training that will help you to volunteer successfully.
What does volunteering for RSBC look like?
Once you are approved as an RSBC volunteer, we will regularly share volunteering opportunities with you and you will be able to sign up for the dates you are available. There is no rule and it is designed to fit around your own personal commitments and schedules.
Are RSBC volunteer opportunities Covid-19 safe?
All our volunteer activities are risk assessed and run in line with the government advice. At the moment all our volunteer opportunities are run online and therefore from the comfort of your home. Each volunteer is given a list of guidelines and recommendations which we would expect you follow to keep you safe.
Do you reimburse any volunteer costs?
Yes, we do. We reimburse travel expenses of up to £10 and any meal expenses of up to £5, if your volunteering is over lunch time and longer than 3 hours. However, as most of the volunteering opportunities are currently online (from home), we are not reimbursing any volunteer expenses at the moment.
Which locations do RSBC’s volunteer opportunities happen?
At the moment, all of our volunteer opportunities are online. Once we resume face-to-face activities, volunteering could happen across London and across the areas we cover with our services (England and Wales).
Will there be training provided before I start?
Yes, it will – we will provide all the training you need. This includes a General Volunteer Induction where you will learn about RSBC (who we are, what we do and what are our values), and about sight loss, safeguarding and volunteering. For certain roles, there is additional training required such Sighted-Guide training where you would learn about techniques of guiding blind or partially sighted people. Or training specific to your role where we would cover topics like mentoring or fundraising.
Do I need a DBS certificate to volunteer for RSBC?
Some roles do require DBS certificate for you to volunteer. As we work with vulnerable children and young people, anybody who has direct contact with them needs to be DBS checked.
However, if you volunteer as One-Off Event Volunteer on our Fundraising events, then no DBS check is needed.
I only have one hour a month to dedicate to volunteering – can I still get involved?
What if I say or do the wrong thing?
We are all humans and there is always a chance that we will say or do something wrong. But do not worry, before you start to volunteer, we will equip you with the tools, guidance and knowledge to minimise these risks. We spend quite some time during our volunteer trainings to talk about sight loss – how to talk about it and how to behave. And we will always trust your common sense and good judgement to know what to do.
Who should I contact if I want to volunteer?
Fill in our online form to start your volunteer journey – once we receive your enquiry, we will get in touch with you to arrange a time for a virtual chat.
Alternatively, you can send us an email to email@example.com and our friendly team will get back to you as soon as possible.
I am visually impaired, can I still volunteer for RSBC?
Yes, you can. We already have volunteers who are visually impaired and that doesn’t stop them from volunteering. Some of our volunteer opportunities do require some vision but some don’t. Why don’t you get in touch with us and we can find the best volunteering opportunity together?
I am disabled, can I still volunteer?
Yes, of course. Why don’t you get in touch with us and we can find the best volunteering opportunity together?
I want to gain some professional experience – is RSBC volunteering suitable for me?
Of course. Volunteering is a great way to enhance your career or to boost your employability. Besides learning something new, volunteering will give you the self-confidence and new skills which you can use in your professional experience.