‘Be ready’ activity

Having listened to and reflected on what you heard in the videos, we’d like you to capture your reflections in your learning journal. The activity below provides a way to structure your thoughts.

Activity 1

Please take some time to consider the following points in relation to your context and record your reflection in your learning journal[link to word document, Learning journal] (download a copy if you haven’t done so already):

  1. Why do you think people choose to volunteer with your group or organisation, or why might they want to, if you don’t involve volunteers yet?
  2. Why did you decide to involve volunteers?
  3. How does the involvement of volunteers fit with the values of your group or organisation?
  4. What are the benefits that involving volunteers will bring to both the volunteer and the group or organisation?
  5. What tasks or activities do you need volunteers to help with?


In 2016, Historic Environment Scotland undertook a survey of volunteering across the historic environment sector. The top two reasons for involving volunteers were given as: ‘volunteers improve community engagement’ and ‘volunteers increase capacity of the organisation’. You can find out more in their report, Volunteering and the historic environment [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Role descriptions

Something that you might want to consider when thinking about involving volunteers is producing a role description. It’s worth bearing in mind that role descriptions don’t necessarily have to be written. If you’re involved in an informal group, you might find that there is a shared understanding of the different volunteer roles and expectations, and that this can be shared with potential volunteers.

Volunteer Scotland has found that people often like to have an idea of what they’re signing up to before they get in touch, and not providing this picture might put a few people off. So, it is worth asking yourself whether even a brief role description is appropriate in your context.

In this video, James at LGBT Youth Scotland briefly outlines the roles that volunteers are involved in.

Download this video clip.Video player: James, Volunteering Manager, LGBT Youth Scotland. All rights reserved.
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
James, Volunteering Manager, LGBT Youth Scotland. All rights reserved.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Here is an example of a role description to give you an idea of the kinds of things it might contain. It’s taken from the environmental charity Trees for Life. It is worth noting the description is:

  • written from the volunteers’ perspective, using key questions they might want to know the answer to
  • not for a very ‘glamorous’ role, but the charity is honest about it; this helps clarify the expectations of the role
  • written in a friendly and approachable way
  • concerned with the practicalities of engaging volunteers, such as the provision of accommodation and making sure volunteers are not out alone at night.

There are no details on how long the opportunity is for and this might leave the reader unclear if they are able to commit. However, this might be due to the opportunity being closed at the time of writing this course.

‘Be ready’ continued

2.2 ‘Is this right for me?’