Volunteering roles

Has anybody found the search for decent volunteering roles frustrating and sometimes very annoying.

I have been on the look out for a long time for a decent volunteer role. Some organisations advertise week after week for the same role, you apply and then never get back to you.

Some organisations just want free labour. I was sent some over the weekend from a "charitable" organisation. They wanted a number of roles filled and amongst them was a receptionist, note taker and gardener. When I had a look at the roles the Receptionist and Note taker were basically PA's to be on the beck and call for what they called "staff" and wanted people to commit for 4 hours per day for several days a week. My view is if they can afford to pay staff, the staff can take their own notes and properly employ a person to be a receptionist - there is plenty of funding available for a supported role for someone whom wants to return to full or part time work.

The gardener role really rankled me. They wanted someone to volunteer to do gardening for people whom receive direct payments only! One wonders if the organisation is pocketing the money for the work under direct payments and getting volunteers to work for free?

I get a weekly email of over 1,100 volunteering opportunities near me all of which are much the same as the ones above or organisations looking for canvassers and fundraisers, nothing of anything truly worthwhile.

Am I being unlucky or have others found the same ?

10 Replies

i did offfer to numerous bodies my skills are regeneration property develop,emt amd mentoring youg tearaways but ave up after bein fed all too ,mamy piss poor excuses or no replies


Echo's my experience - I have 8 years plus experience working in the complaints field for the Government care services and 3 years handling legal complaints processes. A voluntary role came up checking closed complaints had been handled correctly, I was told I didn't meet the "benchmark".

Makes you wonder the motives behind a lot of these requests


I hit lucky. I used to volunteer to help with Art at my children's school. They were the area school for coping with disabled children. I went back to help in the art room. Originally I had high hopes of working up to a few hours every day, but having several children talking at the same time and quickly flipping from one thing to another quickly depleted my batteries and I have stuck to one afternoon a week. It is very rewarding and 2 hours means that I don't have to lie down and sleep as soon as I get home.

I applied for other voluntary posts one guy had me in the place for a trial day but I think that was only so he could say that he'd not discriminated. I found the volunteer bureau have a massive list but a lot of the places are just fishing, to see who applies and if they can be useful.

I went to one place to pick up an application form and had a chat with the receptionist about what sort of volunteer did they want, that I had a brain injury but was surprisingly normal. She asked if I could do filing, yep, you never forget the alphabet. I dropped the application back, they asked me in, did a risk assessment. I go there 1/2 day a week, they are always pleased to see me. It's filing, putting letters in envelopes and sometimes franking post or helping with a big mailshot. They have since taken on another Headway volunteer and another disabled person.

They did look at other roles for me, but my memory (took me 3 months to remember where the toilet was ) and my ability to trip over or walk into a door jar or drop things meant it wouldn't work.

By chance the head of the volunteer bureau came in to Headway and gave a talk on volunteering. We discussed the problems, and she offered to see Headway clients herself to match up with suitable places as a couple of paragraphs on a computer list doesn't help us, and many people write us off as soon as they see brain injury on the application form.

The good thing about brain injury people is that they are likely to settle to a role and stay in it, unlike many volunteers who stay for a short while so they can put it on the CV and get a reference.

Use your contacts, make personal contact, the receptionist might be asked what you were like when you handed the form in. Say what you can do to help.

I think it's a great shame there isn't a 'matching' system for putting people into the right voluntary post.

1 like

Glad you had some positive results 2 out 3 is pretty good and you feel like your time is valued.


Have to tried Do It Volunteering:



Yes had a look there were 40+ roles in my area split between the Red Cross and RNIB. The majority of them were shop / canvassing roles which although quite worthy are not for me at the moment.

Some of the roles advertised you get the impression that they have to do it to get some funding by being "inclusive"


I volunteered at my local CAB for a year and have to say my experience was very positive.


For anyone looking for a voluntary job I would say look at what you like doing, then use personal contacts to get a foot in the door. Do not feel shy about asking someone influential for a reference, explaining that you don't want them to lie, but to put what you are good at (you may need to write a list for them). One thing leads to another and had I not have the degree of memory problems that I have I would have been offered to do more interesting work within the organisation.

The advantages of voluntary work is that they can give you a good post event reference if you decide to try for paid employment and you are likely to make contacts within the voluntary community which is always useful.


Hia Sospan i am having no luck at all with volunteering and thought it was just me, so am glad you put this post on web site. At first it was the job center telling me no. Now the Hospital have stepped in and also said no, just seem to be going round in circles.

Back to the art journaling

Best Wishes


I got a look at a volunteer magazine. There was too much stuff in it and I got over loaded and could not make any decisions.

I volunteered at he local scout unit doing some paperwork and printing off forms and things. There are often lots of jobs that are small and manageable in you own time that can only be done during the day. Most youth groups need people to do important but tedious or small jobs that might be suited to people with time to give.

I volunteered in a school listening to small children read. Something that makes a difference. My mum went to a charity shop but they were very competitive and were expected to reach targets on sales, mad! So I never went to a shop.

What skills do you have? What can you absolutely not do? What do you real not want to do? What do you think you might like to do? This helps to narrow down the options.

Good Luck in finding something.


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