Physical volunteering is back! But before that, we’d like to give you tips to keep you safe as we transition to the new normal. As always, the safety of our volunteers and the community we are serving are our top priority. Hence, we enjoin everyone to cooperate so that we can continuously create a safe volunteer experience.
We are encouraging volunteers to be fully vaccinated before the event date. Take note that you are only considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the first dose (for J&J) and second dose for all other brands. Bring a digital copy of your vaccination card as proof.
Vaccinating is not just a way to protect the community you are serving and your fellow volunteers but it’s also a way to protect yourselves from the virus that you might carry home after volunteering. While the organizers will do their best to follow safety protocols, close interactions with the community and with fellow volunteers might be unavoidable during the event itself.
2. Wear masks
Like the vaccine, masks offer another layer of defense. That said, it’s very important to wear your masks properly at all times, so that you can safely interact with the community. Wear one that you are comfortable with even when it’s really hot, and for a prolonged period. You may opt to bring extra masks to change after the event. Make sure that you will properly dispose used masks.
3. Bring alcohol
Sanitize when you can, especially when you will be handling food or will interact closely with children. You might be carrying the virus in your hands that you could transfer to them unintentionally. However, be sensitive when applying alcohol as some locals might find it offensive if done too frequently and publicly.
4. Bring your own water
Sharing of water (and food) is highly discouraged for hygiene and safety reasons. Make sure you bring your own provisions which you can eat and drink in private during a break.
5. Don’t proceed if you have symptoms, or other illnesses
If you are unwell, have any COVID-related symptoms or if you think you may have been exposed to someone who does, don’t push through with volunteering. Instead, inform the organizers as soon as possible. Stay at home, rest and isolate if you must. Be mindful of the symptoms to look out for.
Apart from COVID-19, make sure that you are healthy enough to physically volunteer. Even with vaccines and masks, you still need a strong immune system to protect you from COVID-19. Make sure you have enough sleep, are not immunocompromised, and are generally fit. For more demanding activities like tree planting, make sure you can volunteer even with masks on.
6. Take note of the alert level
Given the unpredictable surges and alert level changes, monitor the alert level in the area where you will come from and where you will volunteer. Extreme changes in the alert level might result to event cancellation. Some minor shifts can affect the modes of transportation, capacity level or requirements. When in doubt, coordinate with the organizers for assistance.
7. Follow the organizers’ guidelines
Different organizations and localities might have different rules. They know their communities best and will definitely tailor fit their requirements based on what their community needs. Make sure that you are fully aware of their requirements or guidelines. Ideally, you should contact the host organization ahead of the event. Confirm your attendance with them and ask them if they have other guidelines.
8. Inform the host organization should you have symptoms after the event
Our responsibility to each other doesn’t end during the volunteer event itself. If you experience COVID-related symptoms or if you test positive a few days after the event, inform the organizers. This could help them contact trace and deter further spread. It would also help them decide if they should reschedule their upcoming events to prevent future volunteers from being compromised.
A lot of these tips are protocols that have already become part of our daily lives. But as you might have guessed, physical volunteering in the new normal still requires strict observance of health protocols. Don’t lower your guard and always take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe.
Now that physical volunteering is finally coming back, we hope you would find it just as meaningful as it was before. To join these events, visit and sign-up at http://www.ivolunteer.com.ph.
Written by: Lorraine Rañoa, iVolunteer Philippines