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Introducing the voluntary sector
Introducing the voluntary sector

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3.2 Looking for a role

Many people are unaware of just how much they could offer the community or a good cause, and underestimate their strengths and experience.

You need to assess your skills, experience and interests, and then balance all of this against your practical circumstances and any possible constraints.

You might like to try accessing websites such as Do-it or the websites of any of the major charities. They describe the personal qualities needed for their vacancies, e.g. being non-judgemental, patient, flexible. These sites will also say if there are any specific skills required for a post, such as IT, driving, etc. and give an idea about practical considerations, like time commitment.

Activity 6 Where to find volunteering opportunities

Timing: Allow approximately 20 minutes

Use the websites below to help you match your interests, experience and personal circumstances to actual vacancies. Insert your personal specifications into any of the following websites using their drop-down menus. You do not need to visit every website – just pick one or two to explore.

  1. Do-it [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

    You can insert preferred geographical area and availability, and from drop-down menus select your type of interest and the kind of activity you would like to do, e.g. befriending, buddying, driving, legal work, artistic, etc.

  2. Volunteering England

    Volunteer Scotland

    Volunteer Ireland

    Volunteering Wales

    These sites list the main categories of voluntary work, such as animal welfare, arts and heritage, community development and campaigning, and health and social care (including sections relating to young people, elderly, disabled, etc.). There are also subcategories, e.g. for campaign volunteering. These include discrimination, human and civil rights, environment and conservation, and political parties. The Volunteering England site also contains volunteer blogs.

  3. Charities

    Websites of many charities also have drop-down lists of skills or interests, commitment level, location and preferred role type, e.g. Sue Ryder Care and the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Other charities such as Volunteering Matters provide a range of activities to select from, for example supporting an at-risk family or helping at a local school.

    Most charity websites are very informative and user friendly. They also widen your horizons about what type of work you can do. Many people never think beyond the fundraising aspect but at the RSPCA, for example, volunteers can walk dogs at the local shelter, home-visit prospective adopters or do home-based computer work (updating the website or databases, etc.).

  4. Other organisations

    Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI or Rotary) provides many opportunities to volunteer both locally and internationally. The members and volunteers plan and tailor projects to specific communities. Rotary has 1800 clubs across the UK and 50,000 members and volunteers.

  5. Volunteer centres

    You can visit your local volunteer centre to talk about what you might like to do: the centre will know all the opportunities in your area.


Hopefully you have found something you might want to apply for or perhaps looking at the opportunities has helped you work out what might interest you. Opportunities come up all the time, so even if there was not much of interest or in your location you will know which websites to return to at a later date.