Working in the voluntary sector
Working in the voluntary sector

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Working in the voluntary sector

1 Finance, rules and regulations

A tablet and mobile phone displaying financial information
Figure 1 Thinking about finance

Whatever industry or sector you work in, you may be required to handle financial information at some point – whether it is working out the costs of equipment or funding needs, paying staff or volunteer expenses, or spending money on stationery or marketing materials.

If you are a volunteer responsible for one aspect of the organisation’s work, perhaps maintaining a garden or providing refreshments, you could be asked to work out a small budget. Alternatively, you may need to make a claim against a budget, so it is also useful to know where the money comes from, who decides what the budget is, and why there might be difficulties in paying for things.

Many people are probably accustomed to the phrase ‘end of the financial year’, which can mean departments rushing to do extra spending in order to use up their allocated budget or to say no to any further spending because they have already used up their funds.

Many elements of managing financial information may appear to be very focused on individual departments, projects and organisations, but wider issues of transparency and accountability are important. In other words, who is responsible for checking that organisations are operating ethically and spending income appropriately?

The voluntary sector is regulated, although this mainly applies to organisations that are registered charities. Those that are registered are subject to the Charities Act 2011 (England and Wales); The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005; and the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 and Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2013.

Registration and regulation of charities is done by the Charity Commission in England and Wales; the Charity Commission in Northern Ireland; and in Scotland by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). Fundraising by charities is also subject to regulation, overseen by the Fundraising Regulator in England and Wales. The arrangements for Northern Ireland and Scotland were reviewed during 2016.

VOLB_2

Take your learning further371

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses372.

If you are new to university level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. Find out Where to take your learning next?373 You could either choose to start with an Access courses374or an open box module, which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification.

Not ready for University study then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn375 and sign up to our newsletter376 to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371