FAQs for volunteers

What is the voluntary sector?

You can learn more in our guide to the voluntary sector.

What is skilled volunteering?

To understand more about skilled volunteering, how to choose the right role and developing a great relationship with your voluntary organisation, read our guide in the support for volunteers section of the Knowledge centre.

How do we define volunteering?

Volunteering is defined as "an activity which involves spending time, unpaid, doing something which aims to benefit someone (individuals or groups) other than or in addition to close relatives, or to benefit the environment." (Source: The Compact Code of Good Practice on Volunteering, 2005)

Volunteering should be:

  • mutually beneficial (to the individual and organisation)
  • independently chosen and freely given
  • enabling and flexible wherever possible
  • beneficial to the community or society
  • offered to not-for-profit activities

What skills and experience will I need to be a Reach skilled volunteer?

The volunteers registered with us are distinguished by their sound specialist skills, in-depth professional experience and dedication to making a real difference to their community.

  • You probably have at least three years’ experience in the workplace (maybe fewer for new technology skills such as graphic or web design and social media)
  • You’re committed to donating your skills to improve the effectiveness of a voluntary or community organisation and would relish the challenge.
  • You have experience in areas such as (but not limited to) management, marketing, IT, accountancy, project management, HR, business or mentoring.
  • You aren’t looking for training or payment (except for expenses).

What kind of people volunteer through Reach?

The skilled volunteers registered with us are varied, some are retired or on career breaks, others are working full or part time. Some volunteer to build their CV and career, others to give back to their communities. We have skilled volunteers from across the UK, many working to help organisations in their own communities.

Volunteering can be hugely rewarding and your skills will mean that you can make a real difference to an organisation.

What is the process that I will have to go through to find a volunteer placement?

Read our step-by-step guide about how to find a volunteer placement in our Volunteers section.

What is Reach's success rate in placing people?

We place over 600 skilled volunteers every year so your chances of success are pretty high. However, not all prospective volunteers find a place through us. Sometimes, after they speak to the organisation, they feel they aren’t right for the place or vice versa.

Volunteers may have to wait or try more than once as we may not have the right role available immediately. However, it is worth regularly looking through our opportunities as new roles appear every day.

What level of commitment will I have to make?

As a volunteer through Reach, you can:

  • control your level of commitment.
  • choose the kind of organisation you’d like to help (a local group or big charity) and what kind of area inspires you (for example, child welfare, the environment or the arts).
  • shape exactly how much time you want to give. Some volunteers registered with us like to devote many hours a week to voluntary work while others may commit a few hours a month. You may have time free during normal working hours or prefer to keep your involvement to evenings or weekends.

Some projects are short term and one-off, others will require a longer term commitment. You may consider a trustee role which could involve monthly or bi-monthly meetings. You can specify your preferences when you register. For more information, read our Reach volunteer agreement.

Can I volunteer and work at the same time?

Yes, you can be working full time or part time, retired or not in work. Some voluntary work takes place during evenings or at weekends and provides a welcome change from the normal demands of your working life. Some volunteers are able to donate their skills during some of their work time as part of their workplace employee supported volunteering scheme.

We also help with short placements, typically during career breaks or between paid positions. Volunteering can be a good way to keep your CV up to date.

Can Reach help with broadening my skills and experience?

The volunteers registered with us generally have three years’ experience. Many skills are transferable and can be used in a number of ways. You may choose a volunteer position that allows you to use your experience in exciting new applications, enhancing the breadth of your CV. Volunteering can allow you to work with a very different group of people and culture while using your experience. Remember to update your CV with a summary of skills acquired during paid employment and any voluntary work.

How long do the roles usually last?

This will vary by role. We have some volunteer opportunities which are one-off specific projects, others that will be a longer term role and some, particularly board appointments, which can be fixed term, usually three to four years. We suggest that you discuss the time and length of commitment with the organisation before you take up the role.

What can I do if I am not happy in the role?

Most people find that they can find the role to suit their skills and availability and find a great deal of satisfaction in contributing to the voluntary organisation. However if you aren’t happy, or if your circumstances change, you are free to leave your voluntary position though you might want to give them some notice.

Look for volunteer opportunities now on our search page.