Structure of the course

This course consists of five sections, with each section focusing on a particular aspect of the voluntary sector:

  1. Defining and exploring the voluntary sector [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   looks at the nature of the sector, the rules that organisations have to follow, the size and scope of the sector, and the guiding principles and values of voluntary organisations.
  2. Money considers key financial and fundraising aspects of voluntary organisations, including how organisations plan and track income and expenditure, and what the main sources of income are. This section also provides ideas for effective fundraising.
  3. Volunteering covers the crucial role of volunteers, what they do and the reasons they volunteer. This section also explores how to recruit and retain volunteers, including best practice in providing support and managing them.
  4. Accountability and communications considers the key roles and responsibilities of trustees in voluntary organisations, and the difference and impact that voluntary organisations make to people, communities or the environment. It also looks at how to be a good communicator in working with others.

Together they amount to approximately 15 hours of study time. Each section has a mixture of reading, video clips, activities and quizzes that will help you to engage with the course content. The activities are not compulsory but you are encouraged to complete them as they will help you assess what you have learned.

A further section, Taking my learning further, will enable you to reflect upon what you have learned within this course. It also directs you to relevant websites and resources, which further relate to the development of your learning and career prospects.

Once you have studied a section, you will be asked to complete a short online quiz of no more than five questions per section. This helps to test and embed your learning. If you pass the quiz (and you do get more than one attempt!), you will be awarded with a downloadable badge for that section.

Taking part in the voluntary sector is designed to allow you to dip in and out of the resources and collect badges as you wish, so that you can study in small chunks to fit around your work and life commitments. If you choose to complete all sections of Taking part in the voluntary sector and collect the full set of badges, you can download a statement of participation that recognises your achievement. You may find this useful to show your employer as evidence of your learning. For more information on how to obtain your badges, read What is a badge?

Navigating the website

To find your way around this course, you simply click on the links. The home page has links to all the sections, quizzes and relevant resources. When you are in a section, the left-hand menu has links to that section’s topics and its associated quiz. The menu also has links to the other sections of Taking part in the voluntary sector and to the resources section.

If you feel unsure, practise hovering your mouse over a link in the menu and clicking on it. This is the easiest way to move from page to page. You can also click on the ‘Next:’ link at the end of each page of text. Don’t worry about breaking a link or damaging the web page – you won’t. Have a go as soon as you can before you begin your study.

Guidance for accessing alternative formats

Why study this course?