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Clients as Volunteers
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We just went through this process.  In the past we did not allow volunteers to access services and required a 6 month break after using services to be eligible to volunteer.

I had a few situations where one of my volunteers had a crisis and probably could have benefited from our services, but chose not to because they did not want to stop volunteering.  We also are trying to diversify our volunteer force and wanted to remove barriers that might prevent someone from being able to volunteer. This led to a long process of revamping our policy.  Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about all of the factors we considered.  

This is our new policy:

Volunteer Use of Services Policy:

Hastings Family Service welcomes our neighbors who have utilized our services to volunteer with us.  A person is asked to wait three months from the time they last used services before applying for a regular volunteer position. Neighbors using services are welcome to volunteer for short term projects (Project Share, School Supplies, food sorting, etc.) without a three month wait.


If a current volunteer finds themselves in need of a service from HFS we ask that they abide by the following guidelines:

  • Go directly to staff to request a service.  They will manage the volunteer’s request from beginning to end to maintain confidentiality.
  • Follow all rules, procedures, and policies that apply to anyone using services.
  • Resign from any volunteer position that requires access to any HFS database.

We are in the process of revising our handbook.  Here is a draft of what we are using-

Participants Serving As Volunteers

Q: Are participants of Neighborhood House allowed to volunteer?

A: Participants are welcome, and encouraged to volunteer with Neighborhood House with the understanding that volunteering does not provide additional access to Neighborhood House services and programming beyond what is available to all participants. Individuals may either volunteer or act as a participant, but cannot function as both at the same time.

Vanessa Edwards

I'm trying to define some language around clients as volunteers. I'm particularly interested in learning if clients are able to volunteer in other capacities while they're receiving services and if there is a timeline associated with when clients would be eligible to start volunteering once they're no longer receiving services (so would no longer be considered clients).

Right now we have a policy that states that clients are not able to volunteer in the same program for which they are currently receiving services. We're running into some trouble trying to define it further Does anyone have a policy about this?

Haley Nelson
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