Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why should I get involved with AlterHeros?
A: We could name you hundreds of reasons why you should get involved with AlterHeros. We could list you our needs in terms of services we offer, the opportunity to enrich the content of our web site, to come to the aid of the thousands of visitors who ask us questions, to animate our discussion forums, to organize activities with our members, to promote our services at events, etc. We could also name you reasons in terms of our mission statement: to favor the social integration of queer youth, fight against homophobia, abolish prejudices, and more. Furthermore, we could talk about the advantages that result from volunteering: making friends, meeting new people in your community, developing a wide variety of skills and competencies, obtaining a first work experience, and so much more! But beyond all these reasons, you must ask yourself the question: Why should I get involved with AlterHeros? Whatever the answer, there is a good chance that you have a place at AlterHeros!
Q: It’s decided! I want to get involved. What do I do?
A: The first step is to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org Mention your first name and that you would like to help AlterHeros. During the following days, an AlterHeros administrator will reply to your e-mail to explain the procedure.
Second step: for the future volunteers who are available, we would very much like to take the time to meet with you in person before your assignment begins officially. AlterHeros is like a large family. It is therefore important to know each other well so that you quickly feel you are in the right place and comfortable towards your volunteer involvement. At the time of the first meeting, several administrators will be in attendance to present you the organization. Following this meeting, you will be in better position to determine in which team you would like to get involved: Animation, Administration, Development, Intervention, Marketing, Promotion, Writing, or something else!
Q: Are their administrative formalities to fulfill?
A: Yes. There are two requirements needed to become a volunteer. The first one is that the future volunteer must be member of the AlterHeros organization, if this step is not already completed. As a member, you become involved in the community life of the organization. Being a member is free and will give you a right to speak and a right to vote at the general assembly. Being given that AlterHeros is a democratic, non-profit organization, it’s the members who have final say on all the actions taken by the organization. It is therefore important that our volunteers be members of AlterHeros before becoming more actively involved.
Also, to avoid any surprises, to insure that we begin on the right foot and to guarantee quality services to our clientele, we ask that all our volunteer sign the volunteer service agreement document. This agreement is an administrative formality witch explains your implication as a volunteer. This agreement can be filed electronically.
Q: Are their special requirements to become a volunteer?
A: Yes and no. We do not have pre-established criteria to determine if a person is capable of doing volunteer work for AlterHéros. On the other hand, we favor those who show good team spirit, a sense of involvement, responsibilities and who adhere to our mission statement.
Beyond this, we ask that our volunteers have an active internet connection to access the web and their e-mail account (the connection is not furnished by AlterHeros). According to your level of involvement, an Internet connection at your school or at your library could be sufficient. On the other hand, it is strongly recommended to read your e-mails every second day because the majority of our work is done by e-mail and on the web.
Q : Must I have experience in a specific domain to become a volunteer?
A : No. No experience is required to be involved with AlterHeros. According to your strengths and weaknesses, we will find the best work adapted to your needs, in one of our volunteer teams. Some of the positions require certain knowledge, such as in the development team, which is responsible web programming. For more information visit the work teams FAQ page.
Q : Must I be out of the closet to be a volunteer?
A: No. It is not necessary to be out (in terms of sexual orientation) to get involved. For the writers section you may use a pseudonym to sign your articles. It is not necessary that your name or photo appear on the site. However, we do need to have accurate information that will be for internal use only.
A: At AlterHeros, there are two types of supervision. First, each volunteer is assigned to a work team: Writing, Intervention, Development, Organization, Administration, Promotion or Marketing. Each of these teams is directed by a director (also a volunteer) who is responsible for the implication of his volunteers. This person sees to the support of his team’s volunteers, to workload distribution and to the evaluation of the work of each individual volunteer. An individual follow-up is carried out by the director by e-mail or during the team meetings.
Beyond this, AlterHeros’ Vice-President is the person in charge of the all the volunteers. This person assures that all the volunteers feel well structured, satisfied and proud of their involvement in the organization. Whenever a problem may arise between a volunteer and a director, the Vice-President is the person to contact!
Finally, twice a year, an evaluation form is given to volunteers in order to evaluate various points: an evaluation of the organization and an evaluation of the work experienced. These evaluation forms allow us to better establish the needs of our volunteers and make adjustments if necessary.
Q: Does AlterHeros offer training to its volunteers?
A: At the present time, AlterHeros offers informal training workshops. At group meetings, directors organize workshops on various subjects. We favor personalized coaching to help you in the completion of your tasks. For future administrators, we have developed a training guide. Furthermore, our volunteers can take part in various free training opportunities offered by our partners, such as the Direction de santé publique de Montréal and the REJAQ.
Q: It there a minimum amount of volunteer hours required per month?
A: No. We do not ask a minimum amount of hours. Since several of our volunteers are also students, we understand that it is difficult to be constant and always give a number of standard hours. According to your level of implication, we ask you to be able to allocate perhaps between 1 and 5 hours of work a month. If you are more available at certain times within the year you can participate more, and if you are very busy at other moments, we understand than you will be less involved. Some of our volunteers give 15 hours of their time a week, and of others give 3 hours a month.
Q: Is there a minimum or maximum age to become a volunteer?
A: No. For your information, the majority of our volunteers are aged between 16 and 35 years old. For example, the Board of director’s average age is 25. On this team, only those above the age of 18 and more are eligible because of legal obligations. For all other teams no minimum or maximum age is required.
Q: Can I get involved even if I do not live in Montreal?
A: Yes, of course! Even if several of our volunteers live in the greater Montreal region, where AlterHeros head office is located, we count on volunteer from Quebec City, from Europe and elsewhere in North America. Since we will communicate by e-mail and all work is done online, only an Internet access is required to participate as a volunteer.
Q: Are you looking for volunteers elsewhere than in Quebec?
A: Yes! Did you know that the Alterheros.com website is visited by people in 130 countries and than 40% of our visitors originate from the European Union? With this beautiful geographic variety, we have in our hearts to recruit volunteer from everywhere around the planet! Therefore if you are situated elsewhere that in Quebec, do not hesitate to contact us! We will help you integrate and explain our work methods.
A: Our meetings take place at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Montreal. The CCGLM is situated at 2075 Plessis, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This is situated very close to the intersection of Plessis and Ontario street, between the subway stations Papineau and Beaudry. Visit www.ccglm.org for more information. We also organize group activities that take place elsewhere. We participate in the activities of our partner organizations, like the REJAQ (Grouping for the help of queer youth of Quebec) who organize weekends for volunteers from all the organizations in the province of Quebec.
The meetings and the group activities are never a requirement to be a volunteer for AlterHeros. Thus, people living outside of Montreal can get involved as much as they want.
Q: Am I reimbursed for certain of my expenditures?
A: Yes, if these expenditures were pre-approved by the board of directors of the organization. Before spending an amount of money, verify with your director who will get authorization by the board of directors.
A: Yes! We developed a compensation plan for the volunteers in the writing and marketing teams. For example, whenever a volunteer composes 3 texts within 3 months, a check of 30$ is given to the volunteer as thanks for their time, their energy and their. The volunteers in the marketing team who sell advertising spaces have the right to a commission on their sales. For more details about the compensation, ask your director for information.
Q: After how many months am I eligible to be AlterHeros of the month?
A: All volunteers are eligible for the AlterHeros of the month, a reward that the board of directors awards democratically after each of the monthly meetings. There is therefore no minimum amount of days or months of required involvement. Only the volunteers that have filled out the voluntary work agreement and who have an up to date membership are eligible.
Q: Are their awards given out to volunteers?
A: Yes! A few times a year, AlterHeros receives gifts from various businesses, such as pairs of movie tickets and more. In these cases, priority goes to our volunteers, who are the main recipients of these gifts.
On top of the mention AlterHeros volunteer of the month, that are awarded every month, AlterHeros participates in the Allostars competition, an initiative of the REJAQ. Thus, we put everything in place for our best volunteers: one, to be nominated and two, to be winner of an Allostar award.
Q: I must do an internship in the framework of a course at my school. Can I do it at AlterHeros?
A: Yes, according to the type of internship you have. AlterHeros has already welcomed interns from Concordia University for the past 3 years and from Project 10 for the last 2 years. Ask our vice-president for more details.
Q: Do you supply certificates for a volunteer’s implication?
Q: I have other questions, to whom do I ask these questions?
A: For all questions on the subject about volunteer work at AlterHeros, contact the vice-president directly at email@example.com
Web Development team
Q: What are the technical requirements for the development team?
A: The Alterheros.com website was developed in the programming language PHP 5, with WordPress as a framework, along with many plugins, such as BuddyPress. It is therefore to your advantage to have some basic knowledge of PHP. On the other hand, this is not a requirement. It is necessary to know HTML, CSS and jQuery and to have minimal knowledge of database management (MySQL).
Q: I developed a personal website. Is this sufficient to be a developer for AlterHéros?
A: Yes, it is possible that you have the necessary competence to help us. For instance, if you have developed HTML coding, have knowledge of the Dreamweaver MX interface, integrated your website with a database or PHP, ASP or JSP coding, you have all that is necessary to understand the AlterHeros application.
Q: What are the necessary aptitudes to be in this team?
A: Autonomy, a sense of organization and a good problem solver are qualities looked for in this team. Since AlterHeros’ director of development is based in Paris, France, the volunteers who will want to get involved in the development team must be in a position to learn at a distance, all the while being coached by e-mail.
A: Yes! We always need assistance to build our bank of pictures, create banners for our advertising spaces and to help in the creation of promotional material. If you have knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Flash, contact us!