Offering Your Services as a Voluntary Worker by Letter
People often want to volunteer their services for free for a number of reasons. They may have a great deal of empathy for the work being carried out by a particular charitable or not for profit organisation and wish to help them in their aims.
Others may be motivated to work voluntarily in order to gain valuable work experience which might lead them to be offered a paid job with a company or organisation. Alternatively the voluntary work might enable them to gain experience and improve their skills in order to get a similar job with another company. This is often the case with school leavers or university/college students or graduates who may not have a lot of work experience related to their career aims and who wish to ‘beef up’ their CV.
Whatever reasons lie behind your decision in wishing to become a volunteer, the experience will almost certainly add weight to a CV if that is your aim. Furthermore, volunteers are often the ‘lifeblood’ of an organisation and without them, the organisations would struggle so it often presents a ‘win-win’ situation for both the company/organisation and for the volunteer themselves.
How to Write the LetterLetters of this kind are, somewhat, similar to a covering letter for a job in certain respects. One of the most common mistakes people make when applying to become a voluntary worker is in assuming that the company or organisation will be only too ready and willing to offer them a position as it isn’t going to cost them anything, so potential volunteers can be misguided into writing a letter of introduction which adopts a tone that suggests that the offer of a voluntary job is already ‘in the bag’ which can often put the recipient off.
The basic premise of a letter of this kind is to be courteous, to clearly state that you are looking for a voluntary position in a specific field and your reasons for approaching a particular individual, company or organisation. It also helps if you can back those reasons up of some evidence of previous related involvement or experience or, if you don’t have that, you should try to express your kinship with the nature of the work and how it might relate to what you want to do in the future.
Here is an example of somebody who wishes to become a volunteer with the Samaritans telephone helpline service. In this case, it is a response to a local newspaper advertisement.
However, as is the case with a lot of voluntary positions, companies and organisations are often only too happy to receive speculative applications.
Dear Mrs. Melia,
I would like to apply to work as a ‘Samaritan’ as I believe I have many skills and personal qualities which would make me ideally suited to the role.
Firstly, I work as a Customer Service Advisor for a local bank so I am used to dealing sympathetically with customers by phone and have often been required to think on my feet in order to resolve difficult customer issues.
However, my main attraction to joining the Samaritans on a voluntary basis is that, two years ago, I suffered from post-natal depression for almost 2 years, following the birth of my first child, Jade, who is now almost 3 years old.
This was a very difficult and traumatic period for me and my family and resulted in me eventually being hospitalised in a psychiatric unit for a short period of time. Having felt extremely low and not being able to see a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, I did, eventually, seek help and support and, after 18 months, I felt fully restored and able to resume my work at the bank from where my career has gone from strength to strength and my life at home with my husband and daughter has also blossomed.
I feel so thankful for the time, care and patience that people gave to me during my illness that I would like to give something back to society in return and feel that my skills, personality and past experience with the depression has made me a more complete person who is able to offer help and support to others less fortunate than myself.
Therefore, I feel that the Samaritans are an organisation that could not only benefit from my experience but will also allow me to gain much satisfaction in terms of helping others.
I hope you agree and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Mrs. Jenny Smith