Helping us support people with sight loss comes in many shapes and sizes at Guide Dogs. If you’re already volunteering with us or considering joining the Guide Dogs family, we want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your experience, by capturing 10 things that people wish they knew before they started volunteering for Guide Dogs.
1. You will have a support network for your role.
Each of our roles will have you paired up with a volunteer manager, who will act as your key contact for anything regarding your volunteering role.
They will never be more than a phone call away and will be there to build your confidence with volunteering. Before you start, you will also receive first class training tailored to your needs and role.
2. Attend your local Welcome event!
We host local Welcome events for new volunteers explaining what we’re all about and how our services support people with sight loss. And existing volunteers who want a refresher are more than welcome too! To find out when your local volunteering team is hosting the next Welcome event, contact your local Volunteering Coordinator.
3. Get to know your Volunteering Coordinator.
Our Volunteering Coordinators are first port of call experts for all matters relating to Guide Dogs. They will know your local team back to front. They will be able to advise you on volunteering policies and practices as well as answer any questions you may have about how we support people with sight loss.
4. Discover VIP...
Our Volunteer Information Point (VIP) is an online portal just for volunteers. You can find the latest Guide Dogs news, resources related to your volunteering, and find out how to get in touch with us. It's a dedicated place for dedicated volunteers – if you’re an existing volunteer, check your email and look back to previous editions of The Guide for links to the portal.
5. You will never be out of pocket.
We cover expenses associated with your volunteering, so you never have to be out of pocket when donating your time and skills to us. Whether you are grabbing a coffee with your partner in the Sighted Guide role to celebrate their ever-growing confidence or treating your puppy to one of our approved dog toys for reaching the nearest milestone, we can help you cover the costs. Just speak to your volunteer manager who will signpost you to our expenses claim form.
6. We celebrate your incredible contributions.
The ‘Pat on the Back’ scheme and our annual Local Volunteer Awards are just a few of the ways we celebrate your achievements with us. If you have contributed towards our overall mission or demonstrated one of our PEOPLE behaviors, we will celebrate with you by nominating you for a Pat on the Back. In turn, you will be invited to your Local Volunteer Awards to celebrate your achievements and those of other volunteers.
7. You will have the opportunity to meet your peers.
We host local Volunteer Socials once a quarter, so you can meet your peers and wind down surrounded by likeminded people. If you prefer coffee, cake and a chat in your office or something more interactive like a ‘bring along a friend’ BBQ to help us recruit more volunteers, we have that too! We’ve got something for everyone to enjoy so speak to your Volunteering Coordinator to sign up to your next local event.
8. There is a role for everyone.
Our roles cover a range of interests. If you are a dog lover, try our training dog foster or puppy raiser roles. For those who want to make a direct change to the life of someone with sight loss, become a My Sighted Guide. If you want to work as part of a team in your community, our fundraising roles do just that.
9. You can lend us a hand in more than one role.
If you want to spend more time with Guide Dogs or try something new, it couldn’t be easier to sign up for another role. You can sign up to as many roles as you like – your local Volunteering Coordinator will begin the process for you.
10. Follow us on social media.
Each of our regions have a dedicated Facebook page, great for you to keep us with updates about local staff, volunteers and our dogs. Find your region in the list below and join us on social media!