About Volunteering for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind
Support for our volunteers is a major focus for the Board, Management and Staff. Volunteers are central to our plans for the future.Volunteering Policy Statement
Volunteers and staff working together are central to the success of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. Our organisation is wholly dependent on the involvement of volunteers. Volunteers bring vital skills, experience, diversity and character which is central to our organisational culture.
It is the responsibility of all staff to recognise and support the commitment of these special people who dedicate their experience, time, enthusiasm and knowledge to our organisation. In line with our mission we actively seek to promote, support and involve volunteers in all aspects of our work principally:
- The breeding, puppy walking, training and care of dogs;
- Fundraising, as a member of a branch/support group or as an individual;
- In the ongoing work at our National Headquarters & Training Centre e.g. office administration, communications, guided tours, school talks, etc;
- Specific projects e.g. web design, marketing, finance, business advice, policy development, advocacy, etc;
- Client support activities at our National Headquarters and Training Centre and in the community, e.g. recreational inputs for clients on class, free running of dogs for clients, dog boarding etc.
Definition of a Volunteer
A volunteer is an individual who freely assists Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind in achieving its mission without receiving any compensation for their time or services offered. Volunteers may from time to time be asked to represent the organisation at particular events or activities. Volunteers are actively supported by the organisation through a set of policies and procedures and through the inputs of staff, management and members of the Board of Directors.
Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind will ensure that volunteers are fully integrated into the organisation and that structures are in place which encourage them to contribute their skills and knowledge;
- Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind does not aim to introduce volunteers as replacements for staff. Volunteers bring the practical assistance, vital skills and diversity which is essential to the ongoing success of the organisation;
- Staff at all levels are expected to work positively with volunteers and where appropriate, will actively seek to involve them in their work;
- Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind recognises that volunteers require satisfying work and opportunities for personal development. We will facilitate volunteers in meeting these needs along with providing necessary training for them to do their work effectively. The organisation will ensure that volunteers are not (within reason) allocated responsibilities which are inconsistent with the above or which could be deemed undesirable or unsatisfying;
- Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind is committed to ensuring that volunteers have a voice, and that their feedback and inputs are encouraged at all levels.
The following guidelines deal with practical aspects of the involvement of volunteers. Detailed information is available from our staff.
The policies and procedures relating to volunteer involvement in the organisation are subject to ongoing review. The input of volunteers into this process is encouraged and is considered in the redrafting of policies and procedures;
- This policy is designed to provide guidance and support to volunteers, staff and members of the Board of Directors. It does not constitute a contract between the organisation and its volunteers;
- The Chief Executive is responsible for ensuring that the volunteer policy is implemented. All staff are expected to facilitate the process as part of their work;
- Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind will seek to involve as volunteers all persons who express an interest in supporting our work;
- We will endeavour to ensure that a suitable opportunity is made available. If no practical opportunity can be developed then the details of the interested party will be kept on file for future consideration;
- Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind will not accept offers of volunteer support when we perceive a conflict of interest with the aims and objectives of the organisation.
Our Guidelines are available to download here .
An opportunity right for you
Thousands of people of all ages and from all walks of life volunteer with our organisation – from supporting us in the breeding and raising of our puppies right through to raising the finances to fund our extensive programme of services and supports to people who are blind and visually impaired and to families of children with autism.
We have a variety of volunteering opportunities to offer you. Whether you have a general desire to volunteer with us and want to learn new skills, or you have a specific set of skills which you feel could benefit our organisation, our aim is to provide you with an opportunity to be a part of what we do.
When you decide to take up one or more of these roles, additional information, training, induction, resource packs and ongoing support are available from your key contact person in order to ensure that your time with us is as productive and enjoyable as possible.
Who are our Volunteers?
We welcome volunteers of all ages and from all parts of the country, we even have volunteer fundraisers in the United States. We welcome people from all backgrounds including students on work placement, young people participating in the Gaisce Awards Scheme, overseas students, retirees, senior citizens, those interested in dogs, those interested in working with people or those looking for a development opportunity. Some of our volunteers bring particular skills which they want to share, others are open to trying any of the many roles available and developing their skills within a particular area.
Our typical volunteer is:
- Committed to the vision of our organisation
- Energetic and enthusiastic
- A good team player
- Dynamic and willing to take direction
To view our Volunteer Opportunities, click here
Some of our cork Volunteers are pictured at our HQ with CEO Padraig Mallon.