Tietoa toiminnasta / Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

How can I participate?

There are different ways of becoming a volunteer.
The easiest way is to browse the different forms of volunteer activities and contact the organiser of the activity or people in charge directly. Their contact details can be found in the activity descriptions. They have the latest information on their activities and can tell you how to join.

Check out volunteering positions

You can also ask development specialists for help in finding the right volunteer activities. You can contact them primarily via e-mail at vapaaehtoistoiminta@hel.fi.

Detailed contact information

Are there any requirements for becoming a volunteer?

Volunteer activities are suitable for many types of people. The most important thing is to be interested in volunteering and motivated to volunteer your time for others or participate in some other way. Some tasks require special training and longer commitment, read more below.

Most of our activities do not require regular, long-term commitment, but you can participate when you feel like it.

Volunteers do not need to be able to speak perfect Finnish. Many places welcome helping hands, even if you are only just beginning to learn Finnish.

Can I participate even though I cannot commit full-time?

We offer plenty of volunteer activities that do not require regular commitment. It does not matter that you cannot volunteer regularly – many places welcome volunteers when they have the time. All time donated by volunteers is valued.

Which tasks require specialised training? And commitment?

Support people, culture companions and volunteers working at youth centres are trained for their tasks. Training is also required for various peer support and expert by experience tasks.

Long-term commitment is required for support person activities and friend activities at service houses.

Why do you need volunteers when the City employs staff?

Volunteer activities do not replace any tasks intended for City staff, instead, all volunteer activities are an added bonus.

Volunteering is also more temporary and less committed than salaried work. You can pick and choose tasks to your liking, and you can turn down any tasks offered.

We offer the opportunity to volunteer and gain enriching, rewarding experiences, participate in City activities, try new things that you wouldn’t be able to try anywhere else and learn new things.

How can I develop and move ahead as a volunteer?

As a volunteer, you have the chance to try out many different tasks and learn new things. You can also develop the activities and suggest new tasks, when possible.

We want to provide volunteers with interesting experiences. We work together with organisations to be able to tell people where to find meaningful activities with other organisers, as well.

You can also be given a certificate for volunteer work and recommendations for finding a job, for example, but remember to agree on these things with your instructor in advance.

What if I am not happy with the volunteer activities?

It is important that everyone finds activities and tasks that match their interests. We try to map your interests during familiarisation, which is provided at the start of all activities.

If you feel that the activities are not a good fit for you after all, discuss the matter with your volunteer instructor as soon as possible. It may be possible to alter or change the assignments altogether. The most important thing is that you communicate your thoughts and concerns and keep your promises.

Volunteers have the right to choose a task that is suitable for them, they may commit for the time of their choosing, refuse tasks offered and move to other tasks.

We believe that there are no wrong types of volunteers, but there may be wrong types of tasks. We will help you find the right task for you.

Do volunteers sign a contract and what does that mean?

Volunteers sign a contract stipulating that the activities are unpaid and that the persons participating in volunteer activities are insured, as well as agreeing on confidentiality and the duty to communicate any obstacles and the end of activities.

The contract is not binding in the same way a work contract is, but a volunteer may stop their activities if they so wish. You must always inform your contact person if you wish to end your volunteer activities.

Read more about principles of volunteering.

What is covered by the volunteer insurance?

The City of Helsinki has taken out collective accident insurance for volunteers. It covers everyone involved in volunteer activities organised by the different divisions and enterprises of the City. The insurance policy is valid during volunteer activities and on journeys related directly to these tasks.

The insurance policy only covers costs incurred using public health care services.

What should I do if I want to stop volunteering or take a break?

You can always stop volunteering if you are unable to participate. You must, however, inform the person in charge or the instructor as soon as possible. You can also take a break from volunteering, and return when it is more convenient. You should inform the instructor of this as well.

What if I fall ill and cannot perform my tasks?

Notify your instructor or person in charge of the activities of your illness or other obstacle. If you are unsure of your condition or health, ask the person in charge for advice. Do not volunteer when you are ill. You can volunteer again when you are feeling well.

Can I suggest a volunteer activity that I am interested in?

We welcome any ideas and suggestions. We will offer chances to realise any ideas, when possible.

You can brainstorm activities at senior centres and service houses, community centres and youth services, for example.

I am only just learning Finnish. Can I get involved?

In many tasks, an enthusiastic approach is more important than the ability to speak Finnish. Many places offer the chance to learn Finnish by doing and participating. You can use English as a support language in some places. Don’t hesitate to contact us and ask for more information.

Which personal details will I need to provide to be able to participate?

Volunteers must provide at least their first and last name and e-mail address and telephone number.

More demanding activities, such as support person tasks, require an extract from the criminal record and precise personal details.

Any contact details are stored in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation.