We define volunteering as any activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the environment or someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to, close relatives. Central to this definition is the fact that volunteering must be a choice freely made by each individual.

This can include formal activity undertaken through public, private and voluntary organisations as well as informal community participation and social action. Everyone has the right to volunteer and volunteering can have significant benefits for individuals.


NCVO supports the #iwill campaign which aims to make social action part of life for as many 10 to 20 year-olds as possible by the year 2020. We have pledged to support the campaign in a number of ways, from showcasing the impact of youth social action during Volunteers’ Week and to developing practical guidance to support organisations to involve young people. Find out more about our pledge on the #iwill website.

Consultation responses

October 2015 Home Office consultation on reforming the powers of police staff and volunteers

Parliamentary briefings

October 2016 Joint statement on National Citizen Service second reading (pdf, 262KB)
October 2016 National Citizen Service bill - Lords second reading briefing (pdf, 531KB)
November 2016 National Citizen Service bill - Lords committee briefing (pdf, 408KB)
December 2016 National Citizen Service bill - Lords report stage (pdf, 400KB)

Find out more about volunteering

Latest volunteering press releases

Charities and volunteering are at the heart of our shared society
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said: I was very pleased to hear the prime minister’s speech today. She is entirely correct that the state alone cannot solve problems, and that different ...
Good Practice in Volunteer Management
What does good volunteer management look like and how do you put this into practice? Good practice in volunteer management is key to unlocking the potential of volunteering in your organisation. Based ...

All press releases

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