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.

Find out more about volunteering

Consultation responses

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

Parliamentary briefings

January 2017 National Citizen Service bill - Commons second reading
December 2016 National Citizen Service bill - Lords report stage
November 2016 National Citizen Service bill - Lords committee briefing
October 2016 National Citizen Service bill - Lords second reading 
October 2016 Joint statement on National Citizen Service - Second reading

Latest volunteering press releases

Voluntary Service Overseas and Tennis2Be win NCVO’s charity photography competition

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has announced that Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and Tennis2Be are the winners of their annual voluntary sector photography competition, sponsored by Pureprint. The winning images were exhibited at NCVO’s Annual Conference on 20 April 2017, where Rob Wilson MP, the Minister for Civil Society, awarded the prizes.

Sir Stuart Etherington's 2017 state of the sector address to NCVO Annual Conference delegates

Good morning and welcome, everybody. It’s good to see so many of you here today in what we believe is the biggest conference of voluntary organisations that we have ever held.

All press releases

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