Volunteering FAQ

Volunteering

What is the difference between a ‘volunteer’ role and a ‘staff’ role?

The OTW is an all-volunteer organization, so everyone serving is doing so on voluntary basis. At the same time, our roles have differing levels of responsibility and commitment, which we distinguish by using the terms volunteer and staff.

Generally, a volunteer serves as part of a pool (e.g. tag wranglers, coders, testers, translators) or a workgroup with specific and focused tasks to complete. Pool volunteers typically are not required to attend meetings; workgroup volunteers may be expected to do so. Volunteers do not hold a vote within their respective committee unless they also serve as committee staff.

Staff serve on an OTW committee, are expected to attend meetings, and actively participate in committee business and projects. The time required of staff is often higher than for volunteers. Also, after nine months of service as staff, an individual is eligible to run for a seat on the Board of Directors.

Can I volunteer for more than one role?

Yes; many OTW staffers dedicate their time to multiple roles. However, we ask that you seriously consider the time demands involved in the roles you’re interested in and the time you have to give to the organization. It can be valuable to both our volunteers and the OTW when people serve in multiple roles, but we also want to make sure we don’t overload people with too much responsibility. All of our new position descriptions give an estimated time requirement for the role to help with managing expectations. It is also suggested that volunteers discuss taking on extra roles with their committee chair.

Is there a minimum age requirement to volunteer?

In order to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) under United States law, we can only accept volunteer applications from individuals who are 13 years of age or older. Specific roles and committees may have required qualifications that limit participation to individuals 18 years of age or older.

Do I have to be in a specific location to volunteer?

All of the OTW’s volunteers work online, so you don’t need to be in any particular location. As long as you have access to an internet connection, you’re in the right place (and you’ll get to work with people from all over the world).

Most of the information on your websites is in English. Can I still volunteer if English is not my first language?

Absolutely! We very much welcome volunteers from around the world and from all backgrounds. As an organization that serves an international community, we have users and members whose first language is not English, and several of our committees and projects benefit from volunteers who have a background in more than one language. English is the ’lingua franca’ for the organization as a whole, so you will need to be able to work in English (but it doesn’t have to be perfect!). If you have specific concerns about applying for an open role, let Volunteers & Recruiting know, and they’ll put you in touch with the committee chair.

Do I need any special software or devices to volunteer?

You will need stable access to the Internet, as we use web-based software and email to communicate. Some roles may require access to different websites or software. Access to these tools is free or paid for by the OTW.

Are there accessibility concerns regarding volunteering?

The Organization for Transformative Works uses several third-party online tools, such as Basecamp and Campfire, that may not work well with some assistive technology. Our work is largely text-based, and some roles are extremely fast-paced, and require immediate online social interaction in the form of text-based chat.

If you have questions about a specific area of concern, please contact us and we will do our best to help.

I am interested in a role that is not currently listed. Can I apply anyway?

We are currently only accepting applications for the listed roles. Part of our process is to only recruit for roles which are accepting new volunteers and are ready to train and bring them on board. However, we encourage you to keep your eye on the volunteer page and OTW News for the role you are interested in to be available. If you have more specific questions regarding roles, you can contact Volunteers & Recruiting.

I don’t have the skills or experience that the available roles ask for. Can I apply anyway?

While we welcome volunteers looking to gain a new experience, some of our roles do require certain skills and experience. Our ability to take on beginners for a particular role may also vary depending on how many experienced volunteers are available to train them. The experience and time requirements for each position are stated in the position’s description.

We encourage you to continue to check the volunteer page for open roles that match your qualifications. If you have questions regarding the requirements for a role, feel free to contact Volunteers & Recruiting.

Do I have to use the name I currently use in fandom or on the AO3 if I want to volunteer? Do I have to use my existing AO3 name to volunteer as a Tag Wrangler?

You are welcome to use whichever name you would like when you volunteer. Some volunteers like to tie their work to their fandom identity and others prefer to use their legal name, especially if they plan to use their volunteer service on their resume or CV. You are welcome to do either, or to choose a completely new name to use.

If you are accepted to volunteer as a Tag Wrangler but do not wish to tie your wrangling to your existing account, your chairs can provide you with an invitation to set up a separate account for wrangling purposes. If you want to use your existing account, it does not need to match your OTW name, but please be aware that your OTW name may be linked with your AO3 name in the course of your wrangling work.

Please note: A limited number of roles do require you to use your legal name, as they involve work with outside organizations. This will always be noted in the position description or the application.

What happens after I submit an application form?

This depends on the type of role you’re interested in. After you press submit, the page will display information about what happens next, and you’ll be sent an automated confirmation message.

For roles which have a lot of positions available (e.g. a volunteer pool, like translation or tag wrangling): Volunteers & Recruiting will send on applications to the chair of the relevant committee and/or to the leads of the volunteer pools. The chair will then interview prospective applicants to see if they’d be a good fit. We’ll let everyone know the results of their application as soon as we can.

For roles which are only looking for a specific number of people (e.g. a staff role): Volunteers & Recruiting will save everyone’s applications and send them to the relevant chair at the end of the recruitment period. The chair will then interview prospective applicants to find the person who best fits the open roles. We’ll let everyone know the results of their application as soon as we can.

I applied but I haven’t heard anything. What should I do?

All applications should receive an auto-reply that explains the next steps in the process. To ensure it is delivered, we ask that you whitelist e-mails from *@transformativeworks.org.

If you have not received the auto-reply within 48 hours, check your spam filters and then please e-mail volunteers@transformativeworks.org with the position you applied for and the name you used on the application.

Will I be paid for volunteering?

No, no one in the Organization for Transformative Works receives monetary compensation for their work.

I have questions about volunteering that are not answered here.

Contact Volunteers & Recruiting via the contact form and we’ll be more than happy to answer them for you, generally within 1 week. (If sending a question in a language other than English, a response may take up to an additional week.)