Effective Communication and Setting Boundaries

In your role as a volunteer we ask you to maintain effective communication and healthy boundaries so you have a positive and volunteer experience with Outback Links. 

Communicating Effectively

As an Outback links volunteer it is important to communicate effectively:

  • Communicate clearly and concisely.
  • Request advice, clarification and/or further information if you are not sure.
  • Seek and receive feedback.
  • Communicate in a professional manner when working with the farmers, supervisors and other volunteers.

Listening is a very important part of communication. Often think we are listening, but more often we are listening to what we want to happen instead of what the other person is saying.


  • You can’t listen effectively if you are talking.
  • Communicate in a professional manner when working with the farmers you are assisting.

Personal and Professional Boundaires for Volunteers

It is our aim to enable volunteers and the people we serves to have positive, safe and empowering relationships free from confusion uncertainty and exploitation. In order to achieve this we need to maintain emotional and professional boundaries.

In your volunteer role boundaries are important to prevent over involvement and burnout for the volunteer and to encourage independence rather than dependence for those we assist. 

Money and Gifts

  • Under no circumstances should volunteers or their family or friends borrow or lend money or give financial advice to those they assist
  • Volunteers will not get involved in any banking transactions including internet banking on behalf of the farmer or people we assist. This includes, not accepting any personal banking information or credit cards or PIN numbers. This is to safeguard the volunteer as well as the people we assist
  • Volunteers must not accept money or expensive gifts from those they assist. Small inexpensive gifts may be acceptable especially on special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas
  • Volunteers must not accept any personal financial benefit from any relationship established in the course of your engagement with Outback Links. 

Over Involvement

Please adhere to your job position and list as this defines the boundaries of your role and helps to avoid over involvement with those you are serving. Always check with the Outback Links team or your supervisor on group trips if you wish to undertake any additional tasks.

  • Please work within the agreed times and days for your volunteer role.
  • We recommend that you take care with giving out your personal details.
  • Whilst friendships can be made between farmers and volunteers, continue to bear in mind that farmers are under stress and that the relationship may not be mutual.
  • We suggest that even if you have established a rapport with the farmer, return trips where work is to be done are conducted via Outback Links so that you are covered under insurance and protected from any misuse of the relationship.

Personal Space

We all have our personal space and this may differ from one person to another and from one culture to another. This is an individual’s safety zone with invisible boundary lines that need to be respected.


Other than for personal care or therapeutic purposes touching a client needs to be approached with caution as it can easily be misinterpreted and create discomfit even when well intentioned.

  • Touching the person’s hand or shoulder may be comforting for someone with whom you have built trust and rapport.
  • Kissing and hugging may be inappropriate in some occasions whereas in other circumstances this may be an accepted and expected form of greeting
  • Always be sensitive to the individual’s needs and expectations and don’t be afraid to ask if unsure



Click here to return to 'Training Modules' page