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Free course

Working in the voluntary sector

Free statement of participation on completion
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Working in the voluntary sector

Have you been thinking about volunteering or working in the voluntary sector and want to find out more about it? Do you already work or volunteer and are seeking to build on your existing knowledge or skills? Do you have a general interest in voluntary organisations? Are you looking to develop your study skills for further learning? If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions this course is for you.

This course is introduced by Martha Lane Fox, the Chancellor of The Open University and a significant figure in the voluntary sector.

This free online course, Working in the voluntary sector, will introduce you to some of the main activities carried out by volunteers and staff, will give you some background on how different organisations work and will provide you with knowledge and skills you can apply to your own work or volunteering, as well as to your every day life.

Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation - which also displays your Open University badge.

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey. Once you complete the course we would also value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our optional end-of-course survey. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.


This course is endorsed by the CPD Standards Office 340.  It can be used to provide evidence of continuing professional development but is not accredited learning. We are unable to provide formal learner verification services for participation in our open online courses, which are provided freely by The Open University as self-directed CPD.  Anyone wishing to provide evidence of their enrolment on this course is able to do so by sharing their Activity Record on their OpenLearn Profile, which is available before completion of the course and earning of the Statement of Participation.


Working in the voluntary sector

Earn this free Open University digital badge if you complete this course! The badge can be displayed, shared and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. The badge is awarded for completing the course and passing the quizzes.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of different roles and activities in voluntary organisations
  • understand how to work with other staff and volunteers in a team or organisation
  • use and apply knowledge of the voluntary sector to work or volunteering experience
  • link this learning with personal or career goals.

First Published: 17/11/2015

Updated: 09/01/2020

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