Volunteering is a popular way of offering support to charities. Many people begin their careers in the not-for-profit sector as volunteers and others like to use their skills and experience to give something back.

Options for volunteering

Here are some ways in which you can help:

  • Be a trustee, helping to run the charity
  • Help their work by helping in the office or to deliver their services
  • Help them with their fundraising
  • Work in a charity shop

How to get involved

The first thing to do is work out what type of role you might like and how much time you can spare. Volunteers have an important role, so you need to be sure you will be able to commit to it. Alternatively, you could look at opportunities for supporting the charity for a shorter amount of time.

Once you know what you’d like to do, you need to choose the right charity. This will depend on who you’d like to support, as well as other factors like if they need to be local. Draw up a shortlist.

You are then ready to contact the charity. Some larger charities have volunteer coordinators. For smaller charities you may need to make direct contact with the departments you’d like to work with.

Talk to the charity about how volunteering works, whether you get any training and the hours they’d like you to work. Some charities will also pay your expenses, so do ask if that’s important to you.

Depending on the charity, you may need to formally apply for the role, be interviewed and supply references. Ask the charity what the process is for the role.

Finding volunteering opportunities

If you’re finding it hard to find the right role, or you don’t mind which charity you’d like to support, try these sites. They let you search for charities who are looking for volunteers: