Time Well Spent

New research exploring the volunteering experiences and perspectives of people from the global majority. Find out more

Creating a volunteer role

This page is free to all

Before you start your volunteer recruitment, think about why you are recruiting volunteers and how you can offer them a good experience.

  • Reflect on your organisation’s goals and objectives. How will your volunteers support these?
  • Think about what skills and experience you want your volunteers to have. You can carry out a skills audit of your existing team to help identify any skills gaps.
  • Think about your target audience and their motivations. People have different reasons for volunteering, such as wanting to ‘give back’, learning new skills or socialising.
  • Consider what new volunteer roles will contribute to the work of your organisation. Volunteers are not substitutes for paid staff. They should be given distinct opportunities to create impact using their unique skills and experience.
  • Think about any barriers which might make it harder for new volunteers to find your opportunity and apply. Do you need to provide information about your volunteering role in more than one language or format, for example?
  • Offer flexibility around timings and location for volunteers to choose from. Must a role be done in-person? Instead, could it be performed remotely? Or a mix of both?
  • Plan what resources you’ll need for your volunteers and volunteer managers. Consider how much time and money you can allocate to supervision and training.
  • Plan how you'll support your volunteers’ wellbeing. Many volunteering roles can be emotionally demanding.
  • If you involve people with lived experience as volunteers, make sure you consider the support they may need and how you will provide this.

Use our planning for volunteers guidance to help you prepare.

Make the role accessible and inclusive

Think about how you can create or adapt a role so it’s accessible to people with different backgrounds, skills, experiences and abilities. There are many toolkits available online that can help you with this.

You can learn more about inclusive volunteering from:

Write a volunteer role description

Write a description for each role you are recruiting for.

Your description should explain what tasks are involved, the types of skills and experience required and what support you will offer.

For help drafting your descriptions, use our writing volunteer role descriptions guidance.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 30 March 2023

Back to top

Sign up for emails

Get regular updates on NCVO's help, support and services