Volunteering with Ireland Reaching Out means that you make a difference as every one of our volunteers brings something special to the programme. Here you can find out more about the various volunteer roles available. We have a role for everyone, so please get in contact if you would like to help.
Many of our volunteers have a knowledge of local resources and local history and they know their own parish communities better than anyone. So, why not become a part of Ireland Reaching Out by volunteering with us; you will be investing in your community and promoting its growth in a visible way bringing people together, making new friends and supporting those in the search for their Irish ancestors.
Ireland Reaching Out Volunteer Policy 2021
The following Volunteer Policy has been developed in line with Volunteer Ireland Guidelines
About Ireland Reaching Out
Ireland Reaching Out (IrelandXO) is a volunteer and community-based, non-profit initiative, building vibrant lasting links between the global Irish Diaspora and their parishes of origin in Ireland.
This unique programme enables individual Irish communities to identify, connect and engage with those descended from their local area, living around the world today. Founded in East Galway in 2009, Ireland Reaching Out has grown to be a vibrant organisation and community of volunteers, with over 60,000 people visiting the IrelandXO.com website every month.
In recognition of the importance of “a sense of place” for the Irish Diaspora, and the need for local community engagement, Ireland Reaching Out plays a key role in the Government's policy for the Diaspora. This non-profit programme has been financially supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 2010 as part of its Emigrant Support Programme. Ireland Reaching Out also receives funding through The Heritage Council and values its relationship with heritage organisations all over Ireland and the critical role they play in supporting our local Ireland Reaching Out volunteer network.
The Ireland Reaching Out Volunteer Programme
With the support of our volunteer network, Ireland Reaching Out offers free advice and guidance to anyone who is interested in connecting with the local community.
In the spirit of friendship and community, Volunteers are invited to interact with Ireland XO members from all over the world on the IrelandXO website, answering questions and giving general information about their local area.
When possible, Volunteers can meet with Diaspora that visit their local area, giving guidance on the local available resources that may further their family history research, and helping them get to know the area better. This is of huge importance to our returning Diaspora, who often feel they do not have any living connection with the area and therefore do not stop to look around or investigate further. Having a point of contact with someone local can make them feel welcome and reaffirms their links with the local area.
The Ireland Reaching Out Volunteer Network is the heart of our programme and we value the contribution that individual Volunteers make both to our unique diaspora initiative and to their own local community’s global diaspora network.
Ireland Reaching Out has a dedicated Volunteer Coordinator who is responsible for all Volunteer recruitment and management activities to include all meet and greets, visitor queries and other activities that a Volunteer may undertake under the mission and remit of the Ireland Reaching Out programme. Potential Volunteers can be approached by the Volunteer Coordinator when a specific need arises in a community and often the first point of contact is made through a local heritage, or community development, organisation. Volunteers are also invited to apply directly through our website IrelandXO.com
What resources are allocated to volunteers?
Ireland XO provides a number of resources to enable the work of volunteers.
- All registered volunteers are covered by the IrelandXO Public Liability insurance.
- The IrelandXO social media platform is also available to volunteers through our Programme
- All volunteers are to be registered as a member of IrelandXO.com
IrelandXO maintains a database of volunteer information – name, address, contact details, date of registration, volunteer role. This information is confidential and is never shared with third parties. Volunteer information is accorded the same security as personnel files. Personal volunteer information is not shared with Ireland XO members unless permission is expressly given by volunteers.
Relationship with Ireland XO Staff
The Volunteer Coordinator (VC) is your first point of contact and alongside the Programme Manager is responsible for keeping you up to date with all Ireland XO activity. If you have a query or a complaint please contact the VC immediately by email and your question will be given full attention. Social Media is not an appropriate avenue for discussing issues that arise.
Volunteers must seek prior approval from the VC before undertaking anything that might affect the organisation. This includes, but is not limited to, statements to the press, joint initiatives with other bodies, and agreements involving contractual or financial obligations.
Relationship with IrelandXO members
Volunteers are expected to work within the policies and procedures of IrelandXO and adhere to its ethos. As representatives of the organisation, they are responsible for presenting a positive image of IrelandXO. IrelandXO respects the volunteer’s right to privacy and confidentiality. In turn, volunteers are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of all privileged information to which they are exposed while volunteering with IrelandXO. Volunteers give their time for free and IrelandXO appreciates this dedication. All services provided including message board research, meet and greet activities etc are unpaid and no fee will be charged by the volunteer for services rendered.
In addition, volunteers are not to keep separate lists of visitor information other than visitor lists which must be available at all times to HQ for insurance and organisational purposes.
Volunteer training and development
Ireland Reaching Out provides training and development online, and on a one to one basis, depending on a volunteer’s location and availability. We have developed several guides to enable volunteers to carry out their online duties and to use the Ireland XO website effectively. These are included in your Volunteer Handbook which you receive following registration.
Volunteer Supervision and Evaluation
Volunteers are expected to carry out their duties for Ireland XO largely in autonomy. There is no minimum time allocation required to be a volunteer, as this largely depends on the level of activity on the local community’s message board and XO Chronicles. If Ireland Reaching Out are notified of an upcoming visit to an area, they will contact the local volunteer to arrange a meet & greet for the returning Diaspora. If a meet & greet is organised directly on the Ireland XO message board, or through a volunteer’s Ireland XO email address, the volunteer is expected to notify Ireland XO staff so that they may record the visit and follow up with the returning Diaspora.
Ireland Reaching Out volunteers are asked to contribute connection stories, photographs, and any other information concerning meet & greets, so that they might be publicised on the Ireland XO website. Volunteers are not allowed to accept payment of any kind for the services that they offer to other Ireland XO members.
1.1 Purpose of Volunteer Statement
The purpose of this statement is to provide an outline of volunteer responsibilities. It does not constitute a binding contract. It supplements other IrelandXO policies and procedures, as well as our mission statement. These responsibilities apply to all volunteers who undertake tasks on behalf of and at the direction of IrelandXO.
The IrelandXO Volunteer Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the guidelines in the Volunteer Policy (above) are communicated and implemented efficiently and effectively.
IrelandXO will consider involving anyone as a volunteer. Individuals must, however, be able to commit to the aims of the organisation and have a knowledge or interest in local history and genealogy.
1.4 Representation of IrelandXO
Volunteers must seek prior approval from the Volunteer Coordinator before undertaking anything that might affect the organisation. This includes, but is not limited to, statements to the press, joint initiatives with other bodies, and agreements involving contractual or financial obligations.
1.5 Appropriate behavior
Volunteers are expected to work within the policies and procedures of IrelandXO and adhere to its ethos. As representatives of the organisation, they are responsible for presenting a positive image of the IrelandXO. IrelandXO respects the volunteer’s right to privacy and confidentiality. In turn, volunteers are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of all privileged information to which they are exposed while volunteering with IrelandXO. Volunteers give their time for free and IrelandXO appreciates this dedication. All services provided including message board research, meet and greet activities etc are unpaid and no fee will be charged by the volunteer for services rendered.
1.6 Service at the discretion of the IrelandXO.
Any voluntary service is at the discretion of the IrelandXO. IrelandXO may, at any time, and for whatever reason, decide to terminate any volunteer’s relationship with the organisation. Similarly, volunteers may at any time, and for whatever reason, decide to terminate their relationships with IrelandXO. Notice of such decisions should be communicated at the earliest opportunity, preferably by email.
Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator for clarification on any of the above: