Getting started

Trying something new can be scary, but volunteering doesn't need to be. Our teams of trained advisors can help you to understand what a role involves and what to expect when you get started. Here are some great tips fr getting started with volunteering:

  • Be realistic about how much time you have, and want to give. Organisations can involve you even for 30 minutes a week. Read all about microvolunteering here.
  • Consider whether you want to travel for the role, or do something close to home. Usually we can find something local to you but if you need to travel the organisation you're volunteering for will often cover your travel expenses. 
  • Think about whether you want to volunteer as part of a group, or fairly independently. There are lots of ways you can make a difference from home!
  • Find something you'll enjoy. Volunteering should be fun! Choose an activity that you'll enjoy and you won't even realise you're volunteering. 
  • Remember, you have the power of choice. Volunteering is about you and your interests. Speak to your advisor to make sure you find the right role. 

Forms, interviews and references

Some organisations will ask you to complete an application form for volunteering. Sometimes this will be a simple expression of interest and sometimes they will need to know a bit more about you. If you need help completing forms please get in touch with your advisor. 

You may be asked to attend an informal appointment or interview with the organisation. These are nothing to worry about! Organisations need as many volunteers as possible, and they want to make sure you'll get the most from volunteering. If you're concerned please speak to your advisor who will be able to reassure you.

Supported volunteering and mentoring

Whether you need a little help to start volunteering, have a disability, are recovering from mental ill health or just need a confidence boost, having a helping hand through the supported volunteering project could help get you started on your journey. We can pair you with a mentor who will help you to get through those difficult first steps. 

Changing your role

Haven't picked quite the right role? It's always a good idea to talk to your organisations' volunteer coordinator in the first instance, to resolve any issues with your role, but if you still fancy a change, or simply want to do something new, don't hesitate to contact your local Volunteer Centre. 

Managing problems and saying goodbye

With the best will in the world, things do go wrong, and you might want to stop volunteering. Your Volunteer Centre can help you to find a new role and can also help support the organisation to ensure a better experience for future volunteers. Read more in our I have a problem section.