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Fitting volunteering around other commitments - A blog by Tracey Valentine

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Have you ever thought about being a volunteer but been hesitant because you’re not sure how much of a commitment it will be in terms of time and effort? Don’t let uncertainty hold you back – volunteering is a really positive thing to do and it doesn’t have to take over your life. 

 

Like many advisers, I work full time as well as volunteering. The beauty of helping out at The Pensions Ombudsman is that you can take on as much or little as you want, and there is help every step of the way. I find that one to two cases at a time is a manageable amount with a full-time job and a reasonable number of other commitments.   

 

Something which is very important is to stay organised – there should ideally be no more than a two-week interval between actions taken on a case. What works for me is to log on regularly – at least every other day – then I don’t get the nagging feeling that the emails might be piling up. That way, the cases stay fresh in my mind, and the frequent contact means that I stay motivated. 

 

The time commitment for working on one to two cases seems to work out at about 45 minutes to an hour a week. There might be a bit more at the beginning of a new case when mapping out a timeline, getting a clear picture of what’s gone on so far and developing ideas about what needs to be done next. The ability to automatically load email conversations to the Hub also saves a lot of time. 

 

Now that I’m a team leader, it’s even more important for me to log in regularly to check that everything is progressing as it should, and also it really does help me to feel ‘part of’ The Pensions Ombudsman's office, rather than it just being very much a ‘spare time’ activity. 

 

So, what are you waiting for? Give volunteering a go! You can start with one case and then build up to more. It’s hugely rewarding, there is free training and a great support system, it won’t gobble up your free time and you will get a great sense of purpose and satisfaction. 

 

Visit our jobs and volunteering page for more information on how to apply.

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