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       Volunteer Handbook

The Role of Volunteers
Growing Older Together relies on volunteers to help our members remain independent. Some volunteers support the mission of GOT by providing member services directly, others are active behind the scenes staffing our “virtual office” or participating in committee work. Volunteers, as well as members, provide input into how GOT functions and develops.  

Goals of GOT’s Volunteer Program:

•  To support the mission of Growing Older Together by providing services to members and the organization

•  To seek an appropriate volunteer to fulfill a member’s request.

•  To nurture and build community by developing connections among members
    and volunteers.

•  To provide opportunities for new friendships to develop among volunteers
    and members.

•  To ensure volunteers have a pleasant and rewarding service experience.




 Volunteer Opportunities 

Social Visits: A crucial factor to aging well and maintaining good health is social interaction. Volunteers can provide the following services to have a positive impact on the lives of GOT members: check-in calls, walking with a member, reading to or chatting with a member, helping with hobbies or sharing special interests, playing a game or playing cards, providing a brief respite for a member who is the primary caregiver for a spouse or parent.


Home Maintenance Assistance: Volunteers can to help with such tasks as changing hard-to-reach light bulbs, replacing smoke detector batteries, flipping mattresses, moving furniture, hanging pictures, hanging shower curtains, lifting boxes onto high shelves, making simple repairs, simple carpentry, taking out the trash or taking discarded items to recycling, seasonal tasks, such as removing or installing screens and air conditioners, setting/removing mouse traps, and snow shoveling.


(Note: In-home volunteer assistance is not meant to substitute for a regularly scheduled housekeeper or gardener.)

Volunteer drivers provide door-to-door transportation. Drivers are needed for regularly scheduled trips, periodic trips, and last-minute trips. Trip destinations typically include medical appointments; medical equipment pickup and delivery; prescription pickups (with or without member); grocery or other shopping (with or without member); beauty salon/barber shop; errands (post office, bank, etc.); visits to the library, a book club meeting, a senior center, the Y or exercise classes; social and educational events. When appropriate, the volunteer driver will assist the member to and from the front door of his or her home and help carry packages. Members must be able to get in and out of car on their own. While GOT cannot transport members in wheelchairs, we can help you link up with our area agencies on aging who provide transportation with vehicles properly equipped to handle wheelchairs.

Technical Support for: 
computers, routers and printers; software as email, Quicken and Skypeelectronic gadgets and remotescell phones, iPads, Kindles, etc.thermostatsphotograph and video editing.

Miscellaneous Tasks: 
light gardening; organizing files and paper workorganizing or reorganizing, e.g., closets and roomsmending clotheshelping people with vision problems read their mail and access hard-to-read function keys on equipmentchanging batteries on hearing aids or smoke alarms.

Volunteers provide services during the week only and not on weekends or holidays, although we sometimes make exceptions.

GOT Virtual Office Support

Volunteers can help with: maintaining electronic files; processing forms and papers; helping with mailings and creating informational packets; helping with publicity and community presentations; helping with GOT-sponsored events; writing for the newsletter; website/Facebook maintenance, including updating information; working on special projects.


 Volunteer Code of Ethics 

Your experience as a volunteer for GOT should be an enriching and rewarding one. You will assume certain responsibilities and be accountable for your actions when you provide services to members. We ask that you adhere to the following Code of Ethics:

I will respect and protect the privacy of members and exercise discretion when interacting with them. Accordingly, I will maintain confidentiality regarding members at all times. For example, when telling anecdotes about interactions with members and/or their families, I agree not to share any information that would identify a member.

 I agree to perform only the service to which I am assigned by the office. If a member requests further service, I must ask the member to call the office for assistance. The office schedules all volunteer assignments and volunteers are not expected to accept any additional unscheduled requests from members.

Since members will rely on me to provide them with services, I will be careful to only commit to those activities for which I am qualified and available.

I agree not to offer professional advice to members.

I will not promote services to and will not accept gifts of value or loans from members. I agree to provide services to members without monetary or in-kind compensation.

I respect the cultural, religious and political views of GOT members and I agree to refrain from trying to impose my own views on members.

I will contact a GOT officer immediately if I have any concerns regarding the safety of a member.

 Volunteer Cannot 

•  Administer medications, treatment or any type of medical care, or give medical advice

•  Attempt to lift someone who has fallen.

•  Attempt to lift someone even if they haven’t fallen.
•  Schedule member service requests personally. All member service requests should be made through GOT’s virtual office.

•  Accept gifts of value; however, tea, coffee and small food items are acceptable.

•  Accept money, for any reason, including for gas, or allow a member to pay for a volunteer’s meal.

•  Consume any alcoholic beverage before or during providing services to a GOT member.

•  Refer members to other services or paid contractors. When a member has a need that exceeds the capabilities or availability of a volunteer, that member can request contact information of one or more contractors by contacting a Call Manager (570-630-0509). Both contractors and members understand that any agreement and payment for services are arranged directly with each other, not through GOT, and that GOT offers no endorsements or opinions regarding vendors. GOT does not screen or recommend vendors or make formal referrals.

 Volunteer Screening 

All prospective GOT Volunteers must complete a background check before becoming a Volunteer. As part of the Volunteer intake process, you will receive an invitation that will take you through the steps to complete your screening. Please remember that accuracy is crucial when you keyboard your personal information. The screening is at no cost to you, but if you would like to help defray part or all of the $55 fee, you may make a tax-deductible donation via check to: GOT - Growing Older Together  830 Main St. #574, Honesdale, PA 18431

Privacy and Confidentiality:
 Volunteers are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of all private and privileged information to which they are exposed while serving as a volunteer, whether this information involves a GOT member or another volunteer. However, if the information involves the safety of a member or volunteer, such a situation should be communicated to a Call Manager, who will enlist the aid of an appropriate coordinator.

Personal Appearance

As a volunteer, you represent GOT. By setting a positive and professional tone, members will have confidence in you and in GOT. Please wear neat, clean and well-fitting clothing at all times. We ask that you do not wear sweats, very short shorts, halter or midriff tops, very casual t-shirts, too tight or too baggy clothing, excessive jewelry, perfume or cologne. Do not carry weapons, illegal drugs or alcohol. If you are providing transportation, do not have pets in the car, or transport additional passengers. Always treat members, their possessions and concerns with utmost care.

 "Office" Operations: Club Express 

Club Express, our collaborative software technology, allows us to create a “virtual office.” Our members use a single phone number (570-630-0509) to reach our volunteer staff and communicate their service requests. Volunteers communicate with members by phone or email. A volunteer can sign up to provide services at our website: Volunteers who provide direct member services can pre-schedule their commitments at their convenience, matching their own schedules and interests with a member’s service request. After the request has been fulfilled, members and volunteers will be asked to provide feedback.

Because we are an all-volunteer organization, we do not employ an office staff. When our members call during our business hours to place a request for service, they reach a volunteer Call Manager (CM) who has been trained to work with a software program called Club Express to link member requests and volunteers. CMs sign up to work a three-hour shift, from 9 a.m. to noon or from 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, usually at a regular time each week.


When the CM receives a phone call requesting a service, she/he enters the request in the database, which also posts the request online. Automatically, the request includes special considerations that volunteers should be aware of. Most requests are filled online, meaning a volunteer signs up on Club Express to provide the service. The CM will know that you have signed up and will contact the member to let him or her know that you are the volunteer who will provide the service.

When necessary, CMs email or call volunteers to fill a request. CMs also respond to questions from the general public. They provide information to potential members and volunteers, and can help volunteers handle unforeseen situations and resolve complaints.


CMs are essential to GOT’s successfully operations. If you want to volunteer and like working from home, consider becoming a Call Manager.

 Signing Up to Deliver Services: 

There are three ways you can sign up to fulfill a member’s request for a service: 

Volunteers can sign up on the GOT website: Online signup offers you the greatest flexibility and widest choice. It is our favorite, too, because it is the most efficient for our virtual office staff. You can sign up online to fill a service request as far in advance as you like. You can also help by checking Club Express two or three days in advance to provide last minute services.

The Call Manager might send you an email message.

3. The Call Manager will phone you when the time of a request is near and no one has signed up for it online.

Schedule and Contact Preferences:  We can contact you to provide services only when you are likely to be available. If there are days when you regularly work, volunteer for another organization, or are otherwise committed, we will not contact you about service requests falling within that time period. Please let us know your schedule of on-going commitments or when you will be on vacation or otherwise unavailable.

After You Sign-Up for a Service

Once you have chosen a service, you will receive an email with more detailed information, including the member’s last name, address, and phone number. The email will contain specific directions to the member’s home from the closest main road, but not to the member’s destination. You can use GPS, Google Maps, your phone, etc., if you don’t have directions to the member’s destination or are unfamiliar with where you’re going. Many times our members will be able to direct you with no problem.

Once you set the exact time and date of the service with the member, please call the office to confirm the appointment. Two days before the service, you will receive another confirmation email, which serves as a reminder.


The day before the service, please call the member to assure him or her that you will be there and confirm the time.

Fulfilling a Service Request: 
On the day of the service, if you have any difficulty, please call GOT at (570) 630-0509.

If the member asks you to do more than the original service request specifies, such as picking up a prescription or going to the supermarket after a medical appointment, it is totally up to you. You signed up for a specific time period; if you want to extend it, feel free. If you’d rather not, please do not hesitate to tell the member that you are unable to and encourage him or her to include added stops when calling to make a request.

If the member requests an additional service you agree to do, you or the member will need to call the office to inform the Call Manager. The Call Manager will need the date, time, and details of the additional request. He or she will sign you up for the service.

 Please Remember To: 

Call the office as soon as possible if you are unable to do a service for which you signed up.

• Call the member the day before the service.

• Be prompt and reliable.

• Inform the office if you and the member agree to another service,
such as a follow-up medical appointment.

• Treat members respectfully.

• Protect confidential information that a member might share with you.

• Decline money for gas, tips, or any gifts of significant monetary value that may be offered.

 Difficult Situations 

If a member expresses dissatisfaction with GOT’s services, ask if there is anything you can do to rectify the situation. If you are unable to resolve the issue, suggest they speak to the CM. Provide the telephone number (570) 630-0509 and report their dissatisfaction to the CM immediately following your assignment.

In the rare event that several members express a desire not to have a specific volunteer, we will do our best to discern the issue that the members have and discuss it with the volunteer. If the volunteer is unable and/or unwilling to correct the behavior, GOT reserves the right to remove the volunteer from the organization.

 More Ways to Be An Effective Volunteer 

As a GOT volunteer, you are our eyes and ears. Often, a member will start to fail so that we cannot adequately meet his or her needs. If you believe that a member has gone beyond the point where we can serve him or her safely, please call the office and let us know. The situation will be assessed, professionals from the Wayne County Area Agency on Aging or the Sullivan County Office of the Aging may be consulted, and a recommendation made to address the situation.

Additionally, if a member treats you rudely or offensively, please contact the Call Manager. We will investigate and try to mitigate the situation.

  Although it happens rarely, if the member has a medical problem while you are together, please call 911.

Communicating with a Member Who Has Hearing Loss: 

If the member has hearing loss, communication may present a challenge. However following certain guidelines can minimize the impact of the hearing loss on communication.

When speaking with a member with hearing loss, it is helpful to face the member when you are speaking to alert the member that you are speaking to him or her. This also allows for lip reading. Speaking louder is not necessarily helpful; speaking clearly is what is needed. Speaking in a lower voice can also facilitate understanding.

Be sure to use short succinct phrases and rephrase statements for clarification, if needed. Please refrain from yelling at the client as people with hearing loss often have more difficulty understanding the higher pitch of a shouting voice.

Assisting a Member who has Vision Impairment: 

If the member you are assisting has a visual impairment, it is important for you to recognize that your sudden movements may startle the member. Therefore it is a good idea to verbally explain what you are doing. If you are providing transportation, always try to have the member enter and exit the car away from traffic. If the member requires a physical guide, stand one half-step ahead of the member and let the member grasp hold of your arm. Verbally provide the member with the directions. Should the member use a cane or have a guide dog, you should stand on the opposite side of the cane or guide dog.

 Volunteer Driver Guidelines 

Volunteer drivers are key players in GOT. We would be unable to complete our mission without your contribution of time and effort. We, and our members, are grateful for your service. In order to treat our members with sensitivity, dignity and courtesy, please observe the following guidelines:

• Pull over near the member’s house or designated meeting place, get out of the car, and greet and assist the member if necessary into the car. Greet members pleasantly, using the member’s title and last name unless asked to do otherwise. Always introduce yourself and offer assistance. For example: “Good morning, Mrs. Jones, my name is Sarah and I will be taking you to your doctor’s appointment today. Do you need help getting into the car?”

• Give the member your full attention, taking the time to listen. Take your cues from the member as to what he or she would like to talk about. Avoid asking questions. Let the member lead any discussion and set the tone. Avoid discussing controversial subjects, for example, politics or religion, with members or their families.

• Keep your car clean and to refrain from smoking. Please be courteous and do not play the radio unless a member prefers that. Refrain from cell phone use while driving a member. Please abide by all traffic laws and drive in a manner that ensures the member’s safety at all times.

• When dropping the member off at a doctor’s appointment, please make sure to discuss with them the time and location for pick up following their appointment. When dropping a member off at home or at another designated area, please pull over to the curb and assist the member out of the car if necessary and into the location.

If the member does not appear at the agreed upon pick up place, ring the doorbell. If there is no response, call the member. If there is no answer, call the Call Manager (570) 630-0509 or 911 if deemed necessary.


 In an Emergency:  
If you are involved in an accident:

Determine if anyone has been injured.

Call 911 immediately. Report your location and tell the dispatcher if anyone has been injured.

Calm and reassure your passenger. Make them as comfortable as possible.

Follow the directions of first responders (police, firefighters, EMTs).

As soon as it is practical to do so, notify the Call Manager by calling (570) 630-0509. The office is staffed during business hours and voicemail is on 24 hours a day.

 Mileage Reimbursement: 

Growing Older Together will reimburse Volunteer drivers for mileage
at the rate of 14 cents a mile.
If you would like to be reimbursed for mileage, please email your request to Include your name, the member’s name, the date of
the service, and the miles driven in the email. Mileage is measured door-to-door from your
home. You can request mileage for several trips in a single email. We will issue checks
about once per month.

If you choose not to request reimbursement, you can take a charitable deduction for the miles you drove. At the end of the year, you can review all the services you provided using the online signup screen. Go to the tab for “Past Requests” and filter for the last year.

Your Name

Member’s Name

Date of Service

Miles Driven

 Driving a Member with Physical Issues 

Members who have Balance and Dizziness Impairments: 
Members with balance impairments may require additional time to enter and exit the vehicle. Be sure to allow the member this extra time when transitioning from a sitting to standing position. Dizziness may occur if the member moves too quickly.

Members who have Joint Pain: 
Joint pain from age-related conditions, such as arthritis may make it more difficult for a person to enter or exit a vehicle. Allowing the member extra time to enter or exit the vehicle may be necessary.

Assisting a Transfer with a Walker to a Car: 

The volunteer driver should ensure the vehicle is parked on a flat level surface, which will make it easier and safer for the client to walk to the vehicle. A person using a walker for a car transfer will generally be able to walk with supervision.

  Discuss the transfer with the member to ensure he/she understands the process and ascertain whether the member can assist with the transfer. You may choose to walk along side the member to provide direction and physical assistance, if required. Once the member reaches the vehicle you may open the car door and stand between the door and the interior of the car, taking care not to block the member’s access to the car seat.

  Instruct the member to turn so her/his backside is facing the car seat. Further instruct the member to back up until the back of their legs are touching the vehicle. The member should hold securely onto the walker with both hands and sit on the car seat while his/her legs are outside of the car. Take care to ensure that the member doesn’t bang his/her head on the car when entering the car.

  Once the member is seated assist the member to turn to face the front of the car and help lift the legs in, if needed.

  For members who have difficulty turning and swinging legs into the car, you can place a plastic bag directly on the car seat. Once the member is securely sitting on the seat the volunteer can reach in to the car from the driver’s seat and pull the plastic bag into the car while the member lifts their legs. Commercially available swivel seat cushions can also be used to assist with turning in the car. Assist the member in securing the seatbelt and close the car door. Fold the walker and store in the trunk for later use.

  Once you arrive at your destination, retrieve the walker from the trunk and bring to the passenger side of the car. Unfold the walker, taking care to ensure that the walker is in the locked position and open the car door. Assist the member in removing their feet and turning to face the car door. Position the walker in front of the member. Stand in front of the member and assist the member to a stand, ensuring that they do not bang their head on the car. The member should be grasping the walker firmly with both hands prior to walking away from the vehicle.

 GOT Insurance 
GOT carries insurance on behalf of our organization and Volunteers.

Business Auto Coverage

The ‘business auto policy,” also called “commercial auto policy,” provides liability coverage. “Non-owned and hired” auto liability coverage is typically the only auto coverage a nonprofit organization carries if it does not own any vehicles, which we don’t. In regard to liability stemming from automobile accidents, volunteer drivers should understand that when they drive their personal vehicles on GOT’s behalf, the insurance on the vehicle used (i.e., usually the volunteer’s personal auto insurance) will respond first in the event of an at-fault accident. The insurance industry expression for this is “the coverage follows the car.”

  GOT has a business auto policy (non-owned/hired coverage) which will provide excess coverage for those accidents where bodily injury and property damage to others exceeds the limit of the driver’s personal policy, which will always be primary. The property damage is third party property damage, e.g., to a building, a fence, or another car the driver hits.

General Liability (GL):GL is designed to cover the liability exposures that are common to all organizations from large corporations to small nonprofits. This policy is a combination of General Liability (Bodily Injury and Property Damage), Personal/Advertising Injury Liability, and Medical Expense coverage.

 Refer a Friend 

You can help us help more people by referring a friend as a volunteer. If your friend is interested, s/he can find out how to apply online ( or by calling 570-630-0509.

Someone will contact the potential volunteer and provide more information about our organization.