Volunteering FAQs

Image courtesy of Epilepsy Society

Q: What do volunteers do?

A: How big is your imagination?!  There are so many different opportunities on offer, it’s up to you to decide whether you prefer doing something you’re already familiar with, or take the plunge and try something new.

All organisations and groups will value your time and energy above anything else, all will have an induction process and many may offer training opportunities to help you settle into your volunteering role.

Sometimes organisations look for volunteers with specific skills, but if you’re not sure get in touch with them for more information.

Here’s some examples of recent local volunteering opportunities:

  • Volunteer Driver
  • Shop Volunteer
  • Outdoor Conservation Volunteer
  • Social and Activity Volunteer
  • Fundraising Co-ordinator
  • Scouting Volunteers
  • Trustees
  • Income Generation Specialists
  • Planning Specialists
  • Bid Writing Specialists

Q: How much time is involved?

A: The great thing about volunteering is that it’s so varied and flexible you can usually find something to fit in with your lifestyle. It needn’t be the same day or time every week, it could be for a one-off event, a short project or a regular activity. Or you may have some spare moments when you could help from home.

Before you start volunteering have a think about when, how often and how long you want to volunteer for. You can then search for opportunities that match up to what you want to do and register with our Volunteering Matching Service or other volunteering platforms.

Q: How do I start?

A: Look at our volunteering pages where you can get advice and guidance on general, bite-sized, specialist, Trustee and Board volunteering.

Q: Will I get paid?

A: You will not get paid for your time but usually you will be reimbursed certain expenses from the organisation you volunteer with, so that volunteering does not leave you out of pocket.

Q: What does an organisation need from me before I start?

A: It varies depending on the role.  In some cases, a simple chat is sufficient but some organisations may ask you for:

  • application form
  • references
  • interview
  • criminal record checks – now called DBS checks

Q: Can I leave if the role isn’t for me?

A: Yes, of course. Volunteering should be fun! There’s no obligation to stay in a role that’s making you unhappy. The best advice is to speak with your supervisor and let them know how you feel.

Q: Can I volunteer if I have a disability?

A: Yes, many organisations can provide a variety of access and support needs. You can discuss any support needs you have with the organisation you are interested in volunteering with.

Q: Can I volunteer if I have a criminal conviction?

A: Many people with a criminal conviction do volunteer, however, it may limit the roles you can do depending on the nature of the conviction. You should have a conversation with the organisation you would like to volunteer with when you apply for a role to discuss this.

Q: Do I need a DBS check?

A: Whether you need a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check or not will depend on the volunteer role you will be undertaking.. The organisation that you volunteer with will tell you if a DBS check is required and many organisations will undertake DBS checks as part of the recruitment process, Often advertised volunteering roles will say if the DBS check is required.. You can find further information on DBS and volunteering on Disclosure & Barring website.

Q: I work for a small company – can employees volunteer as a small group?

A: Absolutely! We would suggest that you look for groups and charities local to you and approach them direct. For more information contact us info@communityimpactbucks.org.uk

Q: Are there any age restrictions to volunteering?

A: There is no age limit, although organisations involving volunteers sometimes have a minimum and maximum age limit, as their insurance policies may not cover certain age groups (such as under 16s and over 80s).

Q: Can I volunteer if I am from overseas?

A: You must make sure that immigration rules allow you to volunteer. Have a look at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NVCO) guidance on overseas volunteers.

Q: Can I volunteer if my faith means I need to pray during my volunteering?

A: Yes you can. When you talk to an organisation about a potential volunteering role you can ask them what arrangements they are able to make to give you time and a space for worship.

Q: Will volunteering affect my benefits?

A: You can absolutely volunteer, but you need to make sure that your volunteering doesn’t impact on the benefits you receive. This guidance from NVCO sets out what you need to know about volunteering and benefits.