Guidelines for Working in the Community

When volunteering in the community, it is very important that you act responsibly. Following the guidelines below will help you and our community partners enjoy a productive, mutually beneficial relationship.

Responsible volunteers:

  • Do follow all rules and policies in place at their service site.
  • Do not report to service sites under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Do not give or loan a client money or other personal belongings.
  • Do not make promises or commitments to a client they cannot keep.
  • Do not tolerate verbal exchange of a sexual nature or engage in behavior that might be perceived as sexual with a client or community organization representative.
  • Do not tolerate verbal exchange or engage in behavior that might be perceived as discriminating against an individual on the basis of their age, race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or ethnicity.
  • Do not engage in any type of business with clients during the term of your service.
  • Do not enter into personal relationships with a client or community partner representative during the term of service.

Ask for help when in doubt.

Your site supervisor understands the issues at your site and you are encouraged to approach him or her with problems or questions as they arise. He or she can assist you in determining the best way to respond to difficult or uncomfortable situations. Feel free to contact your professor or the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement with questions concerning your placement.

Are punctual and responsible.

Although you are volunteering your time, you are participating in the organization as a reliable, trustworthy, and contributing member of the team. Both the administrators and the person whom you serve rely on your punctuality and commitment to completing your service hours/project throughout your partnership. Complete any paperwork, including time logs, required by the site or University.

Call if they anticipate lateness or absence.

Call the site supervisor if you are unable to go in or if you anticipate being late. Be mindful of your commitment, knowing that people are counting on you. Put your site supervisor name and phone number into your cell phone so that you will always have it with you.

Show respect for the agencies with which they work.

Placement within community programs is an educational opportunity and a privilege. Not only are you serving the community, but the community is also serving you by investing valuable resources in your learning.

Respect the privacy and dignity of every person they encounter.

Remember that people's circumstances and views may be different from yours. You can learn from others. Respect other people's rights to privacy. When talking about your volunteer experiences as part of a learning community, do not use actual names.

Are appropriate.

You are in a work situation and are expected to treat your supervisor and others with courtesy and kindness. Dress comfortably, neatly, and appropriately. Use formal names unless instructed otherwise. Be professional in all your communications, both verbal and written (including email correspondence).

Are flexible.

The level or intensity of activity at a service site is not always predictable. Your flexibility to changing situations can assist the partnership in working smoothly and producing positive outcomes for everyone involved.

Use caution with automobiles.

Do not transport any community partner clients without express permission from your site supervisor. Be aware that you — not the University — may be liable in the event of an accident.