Volunteer Handbook

  • About volunteering

    Definitions of volunteering

    Formal volunteering is an activity which takes place through not for profit organisations or projects and is undertaken:

    • to benefit the community and the volunteer
    • of the volunteer’s own free will and without coercion
    • for no financial payment
    • only in designated volunteer positions.

     Principles of volunteering

    • volunteering benefits the community and the volunteer
    • volunteer work is unpaid
    • volunteering is always a matter of choice
    • volunteering is not a compulsory activity undertaken to receive pensions or government allowances
    • volunteering is a legitimate way in which citizens can participate in activities within their community
    • volunteering is a vehicle for individuals or groups to address human, environmental and social needs
    • volunteering is an activity performed in the not for profit sector only
    • volunteering is not a substitute for paid work
    • volunteers do not replace paid workers nor constitute a threat to the job security of a paid worker
    • volunteering respects the rights, dignity and culture of others
    • volunteering promotes human rights and equality
  • Induction

    As a University of Adelaide volunteer, you are required to undertake an induction process to provide you with the important information you will need to perform your role and be familiar with the organisation.

     There are various elements of the induction process which are outlined below. 

    Corporate induction

    This induction covers policies that are applicable to your role. These will be discussed with you by your local area volunteer coordinator.

    They include:

    Volunteer service induction

    The volunteer services induction covers an overview of the University Volunteer Program and will be discussed with you by your local area volunteer coordinator.

     This induction will include:

    • volunteers' rights and responsibilities
    • volunteer agreement and position description
    • code of conduct
    • police check or Department of Human Services screening clearance (where applicable)
    • mandatory reporting (where applicable)
    • training and recognition
    • volunteer insurance guide.

    Further information can be found below.

    Volunteer local induction

    The local induction is specifically tailored to your role and workplace. Your immediate supervisor will take you through a tour of your workplace and introduce you to the rest of your team. You will be informed of any local hazards and specific information you may need on a day-to-day basis.

     Your local induction may include:

    • explanation of work unit structure
    • tour of facilities and amenities
    • building access
    • computer access
    • introduction to staff, fire warden, first aid officer
    • local hazards including tools, equipment, materials
    • location of first aid kit
    • fire and emergency plans, including evacuation point
    • procedure for reporting hazards, accidents and injuries. 
  • Volunteer services induction

    Rights of volunteers

    • Receive adequate information about what is expected and to understand why you are doing the duties.
    • Be assigned a suitable project and/or duty.
    • Be provided with support to carry out your volunteer role.
    • Be provided with suitable tools, training and materials to carry out your volunteer role.
    • Receive respect and support from co-workers, as well as recognition and feedback from your supervisor for your work.
    • Provide feedback, suggestions and recommendations regarding your volunteer role or the wider program.
    • Work in a safe and healthy environment.
    • Have your personal records kept in a confidential manner.
    • Be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses as agreed prior to your commencement.
    • Be covered by relevant insurance.

    Responsibilities of volunteers

    • Attend volunteer placement at agreed times.
    • Contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend work.
    • Update your contact details if they change.
    • Appreciate and respect the confidential nature of information that may be acquired during the course of your duties.
    • Discuss any problems with your supervisor.
    • Agree to work in a safe and healthy way and not jeopardise the health and safety of others.
    • Abide by policies and procedures as defined by the University Volunteer Program.
    • Inform your volunteer coordinator of any pre-existing medical conditions or special needs of which the University should be aware of that might affect your ability to undertake certain duties.
    • Report any accident, incident or injury immediately to your direct supervisor.

    Volunteer agreement and position description

    As outlined in the University’s Volunteer Policy, a volunteer agreement form is an agreement between the University and the volunteer and should be discussed and signed by the volunteer and local area volunteer coordinator before commencement. A position description outlining your tasks and duties should accompany the agreement form.

    Code of Conduct

    The University Code of Conduct requires volunteers to:

    • behave with honesty and integrity in all matters to their volunteering
    • treat everyone with respect and courtesy, and refrain from bullying, harassment or discrimination
    • follow any reasonable directions from the University
    • conduct themselves in a manner that upholds the values, integrity and good reputation of the University at all times
    • conduct themselves in an ethical and professional manner
    • take reasonable steps to avoid and disclose any conflict of interest in connection with their volunteering
    • adhere to and maintain confidentiality when collecting or storing records of individuals
    • use University resources responsibly and appropriately
    • comply with the terms and conditions of the volunteering agreement they have entered into with the University
    • be open to collaboration, open dialogue and the sharing of ideas, theories and practices with others
    • comply with the University policy and procedure.

    Safer Campus Community

    In February 2016, Australia's universities launched a ground-breaking initiative to prevent and address sexual assault and harassment across the sector. Respect. Now. Alwayshighlights the determination of the University of Adelaide in ensuring our university is a place of safety and respect. 

    A safe campus is everyone’s responsibility. The University provides a range of services and responses to assist in student safety, but we rely on the whole campus community to work together to support safety on campus. You can help the university ensure your campus is safe by playing a role in looking out for your own safety, and the safety of others. Visit the Safer Campus Community website for more information.

    Dealing with incidents can be difficult. Confidential, professional support is available through the University to help you manage this:

    • Student Life Counselling Service 8313 5663
    • Student Care 8313 5430
    • Yarrow Place 8226 8777 or 1800 817 421

    Volunteers must observe all legal obligations. This includes obligations under the Independent Commissioner against Corruption Act 2012. The University is a Public Authority under the Act; Volunteers are Public Officers and must report to the Office for Public Integrity any activity they reasonably suspect to be corruption, misconduct or maladministration in public administration. Please visit Legal and Risk's, ICAC Resources for Public Officers website for further information.

    Screening checks

    As a volunteer, you may be asked to undergo a police check or Department of Human Services (DHS) screening check for one or more of the following reasons:

    • legislative requirement – some volunteers (often those working with children or vulnerable people) are required by law to undergo a DHS screening check
    • duty of care – organisations need to do all that is reasonable to avoid harm to clients, volunteers and the organisation
    • some insurers require police checks and DHS screening checks for staff and volunteers as a condition of providing insurance.

    Please ask your local area volunteer coordinator if you require a policy check or DHS screening check.

    Mandatory reporting

    Under the Child Protection Act, any person who delivers, or may deliver services to children (any person under 18 years of age) as part of volunteer work is considered to be ‘mandated notifiers’.  This means you have a duty of care to report any concerns about the safety, welfare and wellbeing of a child to your supervisor.

    If you are considered a ‘mandated notifier’, you will be provided with guidelines from your volunteer coordinator as part of your corporate induction.


    As a registered volunteer of the University, you will be provided with training relevant to your role and in the areas that are legislatively required.

    Volunteer eNewsletter

    You have the option to receive our quarterly eNewsletter that will notify you of news, events, volunteer opportunities and training so that you can expand your portfolio of experience if you choose.


    The University of Adelaide actively encourages and promotes the culture of volunteering and we greatly appreciate the contribution volunteers make to the University community. The university holds recognition events throughout the year and we encourage you to join us. Further details will be provided via your local area volunteer coordinator.

    Volunteer insurance

    Below outlines the insurance available to University of Adelaide volunteers participating in University approved voluntary and unpaid activities.

    • Pre-conditions to insurance over

    Volunteers should be registered with the External Relations Branch. Cover only applies to events officially organised by and under the control of the University, and volunteer activities undertaken with the knowledge and approval of the University.

    • Personal accident insurance

    Volunteers up 85 years of age are provided with Personal Accident Cover. Volunteers between 85 and 90 years are also eligible for limited benefits under the Personal Accident Cover. Personal Accident Cover includes necessary travel to and from voluntary work. Non-Medicare medical expenses will be paid up to a maximum of $5,000. Medicare-related expenses (including the Medicare gap) cannot be claimed under this policy.

    • Public liability insurance

    Volunteers are provided with public liability insurance to cover any negligent actions or omissions that occur during approved activities associated with their University volunteer role, which results in a loss, damage or injury to a third party.

    • Professional indemnity insurance

    In limited circumstances, volunteers are provided with professional indemnity insurance to cover professional advice given to a third party as part of their approved voluntary activities, which results in a loss, damage or injury to a third party arising from the advice provided.

    • Travel insurance for approved University travel

    Insurance is provided to University of Adelaide volunteers whose travel has been approved by their volunteer coordinator.

    More about volunteering

    For further information on volunteering please contact: