Volunteering involves offering help to a group, organisation, cause or the community on an unpaid basis.
Reasons to volunteer
While unpaid, some volunteer roles offer the opportunity to gain new skills that increase your employability and enhance your CV.
People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them. For others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge.
Volunteering can be a route to employment, or a chance to try something new which may open routes into a different career.
Volunteering can be a way of:
- Developing new skills, knowledge and experience
- Enhancing your existing skills and knowledge
- Complementing your CV
- Improving employment prospects
- Using professional skills and knowledge to benefit others
As a volunteer you will not be given a contract of employment so you will not have the same rights as an employee or worker.
However, you should be given a volunteer agreement that outlines:
- What training you will receive
- The level of supervision and support you’ll have
- Whether you’re covered under the organisation’s employer or public liability insurance
- Health and safety issues
- Any expenses the organisation will cover
A volunteer agreement is not compulsory, but sets out what you can expect from the organisation.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has more information on volunteers’ legal status.
Where can I volunteer?
Most organisations take on volunteers; create a target list of places you would like to experience and get in touch with them directly to discuss their opportunities. Larger companies will have a dedicated place on their webpages where you can find out more.
Take a look at the University of Salford Students’ Union volunteering information and Salford Advantage for volunteering opportunities.
The NCVO champions the voluntary sector and volunteering. You can search their database of volunteering opportunities.
Do-It is the nation’s first digital volunteering service, which transformed from a simple job listing site into a social platform for volunteers and community groups that engage them.
When can I volunteer?
How much time you can afford to give and how often is entirely up to you. There is often a misconception that organisations are looking for volunteers to work full shifts and this is not the case. However, you should focus on consistency and commitment in your volunteering. Two hours a week, every week for two years is much more meaningful than 30 hours a week for six weeks over the summer break.
Speak to a careers adviser
Our Careers Advisers are on hand to help. Book an appointment on Advantage or by calling 0161 295 0023 (option 5).
Appointments are available for current students and graduates of the University of Salford only.