Volunteer programmes

It is also possible to run projects that are led by volunteers, such as artists or musicians donating their time. Volunteer programmes can be highly effective as they can cost very little to run, bring the cause to the attention of a wider audience, and sometimes lead on to other fundraising efforts through the volunteers involved. However, if a volunteer is going to work in a healthcare organization, they must be carefully vetted, including potentially going through criminal record checks and health and safety checks (see Chapter 8). If they have not had prior experience, they may also require a training session and careful supervision. Furthermore, volunteer programmes are not always appropriate. For example, a project that involves one-on-one music interaction with premature babies in intensive care would require the specialist knowledge and training of a professional who has experience working in that setting. Not only might a volunteer not know how to deliver a suitable activity in that environment, but also they may not know how to deal with the situation themselves and could find it distressing. Consequently, volunteer programmes should be used carefully, not merely as a way of avoiding the cost of a professional, and should be combined with thorough preparation and monitoring of the volunteer.

Musicians on Call in the US is a volunteer programme where professional and amateur musicians donate their time to perform for patients in hospitals: www.musi- ciansoncall.org.

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