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2. SUPER STRETCHER – Make your super go further

Volunteering with perks

The second in our ‘Super-Saver’ series introduces you to the cost-saving benefits of senior-volunteering.

Volunteering With Perks!

No one takes on a volunteer position for personal gain – and if they do, they’re going to be seriously disappointed. This aside, many organisations relying on volunteer-support go out of their way to offer their volunteers something above and beyond the usual rewards of companionship and personal satisfaction. When this ‘something’ includes discounts and reduced or free entry to events and occasions (often up to several times a year), superannuitant volunteers soon find themselves making savings they never expected.

Accessing art

If art is your passion, it can be frustrating to arrive at a public gallery only to find the exhibition you came specifically to see requires an individual entry fee. Or the guest artist talk is available only to subscribed members of the gallery. However, many galleries make a point of thanking their volunteers with tickets to touring (often international) exhibitions, invitations to exhibition openings (usually with wine and cheese or supper provided), and the opportunity to listen to artists discuss their work, and that’s only the entertainment side of things! If you volunteer at an art gallery, you’ll almost always have the opportunity to take a fascinating, first-hand peek behind-the-scenes, and to learn some of the skills of restoration, framing and curating. When all you have to do in return, is mind the artworks themselves – that’s a pretty amazing pay-back!

Gardening volunteers

New Zealand’s beautiful public parks and botanical gardens rely on an army of volunteers to keep them running smoothly, and those same volunteers are handsomely rewarded for their work. Free-entry to garden talks from specialists, first pick of fund-raising plant sales, free ‘friends of the gardens’ subscriptions (which often provide priority ticketing or free seats on bus tours), and tours of new plantings and seasonal beds, are just some of the many ways public gardens reward their volunteers. As you volunteer your way towards these treats, you’ll be working in an environment you love!

Fire and Emergency

In many situations, it’s volunteers who help keep Fire and Emergency services functioning smoothly, and this valuable, unpaid work, does not go without recognition. If you decide to volunteer for your local Fire and Emergency service, whether it’s hands-on or in communications or traffic control, expect to receive a wide range of discounts on the likes of health, holiday accommodation, hire cars, and dining out. You’ll also be far from out-of-pocket for costs you incur in volunteering, such as travel and overnight stays when away from home for training.

Film festival ushers

If you’re a film buff, it comes with a hefty price tag – but not when you volunteer for film festivals. Each year, New Zealand offers several film festivals around the country (and often touring through-out). These include the likes of The International Film Festival, The Aotearoa Surf Film Festival, and the Mountain Film Festival. All it takes to have the opportunity to sit-in on movies for free, is to put up your hand to be an usher, ticket seller or supervisor. If you’re feeling hesitant, don’t be. These positions come with free training.

Next time you find yourself considering a volunteer role, don’t feel uncomfortable asking about the perks, as well as the duties, that come with the job. Just be sure to do so discreetly, and to clearly indicate this will not be the main reason you’re considering applying.

If you’re unsure where to begin with finding the right volunteer position for you, head over to Volunteering New Zealand’s website. It discusses the concept of volunteering as well as giving a region by region guide to volunteer positions or where to go to look for them. Seek Volunteer is a user-friendly site linking volunteers with organisations seeking their help. Say ‘Yes’ to volunteering, today, and save while you help others!