Volunteering FAQ


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

All of the OTW’s volunteers work asynchronously 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?

Yes! We welcome volunteers from all backgrounds all around the world. We have many users, members, and volunteers whose first language is not English. Many of our committees and projects enjoy having volunteers who can speak more than one language.

English is the main language we use to communicate with each other in the organization, so you will need to be able to work in English, but it doesn’t have to be perfect! If you have questions about applying for an open role, let Volunteers & Recruiting know.

Can I volunteer for more than one role?

Yes, many OTW volunteers dedicate their time to more than one role. We do ask that you consider the time demands of the roles you’re interested in and how much time you have for the organization. It can be helpful when people volunteer for more than one role, but we also want to make sure our volunteers don’t burn out from too much responsibility. All our position descriptions give an estimated time requirement. Volunteers should also consider discussing taking on extra roles with their committee chair.

What happens after I submit an application form?

This depends on the type of role you’re interested in. Once you press submit, you should see information about what happens next. Then, you’ll receive an automated confirmation message.

Once recruitment ends, Volunteers & Recruiting will send everyone’s applications to the relevant chairs (committee leaders). Chairs will then interview prospective applicants, either over chat or in the form of additional questionnaires, to find volunteers for their current needs. We’ll let everyone know the results of their application as soon as we can.

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

We’d love to welcome all volunteers looking for new experiences, but some of our roles do need volunteers with certain skills and experience. Training beginners for a role may also depend on how many experienced volunteers can train them. The position’s description shows the experience and time requirements for the position.

Please continue to check the volunteer page for open roles that match your qualifications.

You can also help by adding information to Fanlore, the OTW’s fandom preservation wiki. (Get started at the New User Portal.) If you’d like to contribute to the AO3’s code, you can do this through our GitHub without formally volunteering. Please see this page for more details.

If you have questions about the requirements for a role, feel free to contact Volunteers & Recruiting.

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.

You can also help by adding information to Fanlore, the OTW’s fandom preservation wiki. (Get started at the New User Portal.) If you’d like to contribute to the AO3’s code, you can do this through our GitHub without formally volunteering. Please see this page for more details.

If you have more specific questions about roles, you can 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 like when you volunteer, as long as it follows the OTW Name Policy. 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 don’t have to volunteer using your legal name for this purpose. Volunteers & Recruiting can confirm your work with your employers.) You are welcome to do either or to choose a completely new name to use.

If you become a Tag Wrangling volunteer but do not wish to link your wrangling with your existing account, your chairs can help you set up a separate account. Your existing account does not need to match your OTW name, but 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 need you to use your legal name, as they involve work with outside organizations. This will always be in the position description or the application.

It is also a legal requirement for the Board of Directors to use their legal names. Candidates for Board of Director must run under their legal names. However, they will only need to change their OTW Names to their legal names after they are elected.

Can I change my name/details after I apply?

Yes, you can change your name or details after you apply or during the course of your volunteer work. Your new name will need to follow the OTW Name Policy.

Can I take a break from volunteer work before my term is up?

If you find that you cannot do your volunteer duties within the time requirements expected of your position, you can ask to take a hiatus from your committee chairs.

If you would like to retire from volunteer work, you may also do so at any time.

Can I volunteer for more than 1 year?

Yes! The term listed on the position description is just the minimum requirement. In fact, we have many volunteers that have been with the OTW for more than a decade!

What e-mail should I use to apply?

You can apply with any e-mail address you use. Your e-mail address will be visible to some volunteers in charge of processing and reviewing your application, though. If you don’t want to connect your fannish identity with your legal name, don’t use your personal/work/school e-mail addresses.

Please whitelist e-mails from *@transformativeworks.org so that you receive messages from our volunteers.

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

All applications should receive an auto-reply with the next steps in the process. To make sure you get these e-mails, please whitelist e-mails from *@transformativeworks.org.

If you have not gotten the auto-reply within 48 hours, check your spam filters and then please contact Volunteers & Recruiting. Let us know what position you applied for and the name you used on the application.

If you have received an auto-reply and you are waiting to hear back from the committee you applied to, please note that most volunteer applicants get responses 2-4 weeks after the position has been closed. You can confirm the time estimate for responses on the auto-reply. If it is past that time, please contact Volunteers & Recruiting. Let us know what position you applied for and the name you used on the application to request an update.

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 e-mail to communicate. For data security reasons, volunteers must conduct and manage volunteer work using the OTW’s e-mail service provider. Some roles may also need access to different websites or software. Access to these tools is free or paid for by the OTW.

Is there a minimum age requirement to volunteer?

In order to follow the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) under EU law, we can only accept volunteers who are 16 years of age or older. Some roles and committees may need volunteers to be 18 years of age or older. You can find age requirements on the position description.

Will I be paid for volunteering?

No, volunteers in the Organization for Transformative Works do not get paid for their work.

But the OTW also does not expect volunteers to pay for expenses incurred in the course of their work for the organization. The OTW will pay for access to online tools and software needed to carry out organization work. We will also reimburse pre-approved and necessary expenses.

Are there accessibility concerns regarding volunteering?

Some roles for the Organization for Transformative Works use tools that may not work well with some assistive technology. Our work is largely text-based, and some roles can be fast-paced, and need immediate online interaction in the form of text-based chat.

If you have questions about tools needed for certain roles, please contact us and we will do our best to help.

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.