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Volunteering is a good way to pick up valuable work experience and to learn new skills, whatever career you’re considering. It shows employers that you’re flexible, adaptable and can make creative use of your time.
However, you need to plan your volunteering carefully. Firstly, think about the career fields that you’re considering, and think about what skills and experiences you’ll need. Negotiation, making presentations, managing limited resources, persuading people, marketing, planning … these are all skills that you’ll pick up in many small charities, so it’s worthwhile being open minded about the sort of organisation you approach.
You should also think about what issues or causes are you are interested in. And consider how long you think you’ll be available. Many charities will ask for a minimum commitment, as it takes time and resources to train and support volunteers. Note that there may be a bit of a lead-in before you actually start volunteering – some charities recruit only at certain times of year, and they may ask you to complete a CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) check if you’re working with children or vulnerable adults. If you want to make a quick start to your volunteering, you might want to consider some of ‘one-off’ volunteering events.
Do-It - This is the national volunteering website. You can search by type of volunteering and by location, so it’s a good place to start.
Volunteer Centres - If you’d like to talk to someone about volunteering, you may be able to get some help from your local volunteer centre. You can find the nearest one via the Do-It website at
If you’re in London, there are a few organisations that are often looking for volunteering on an occasional basis:
Gap Year Volunteering
CSV run a full-time, away from home volunteering programme in the UK:
UCLU’s Volunteering Services Unit has a list of international volunteering organisations – along with a bit of advice – at
Got your own idea?
Junction49 - If you’ve got your own idea for a community project or a social enterprise, this is a good site
Page last modified on 16 aug 12 15:50 by David Carter