Volunteer Organiser

The Job and What's Involved

Volunteer organisers (also known as volunteer coordinators or managers) recruit, train and manage volunteers in all kinds of organisations.

As a volunteer organiser you would work with unpaid volunteers to provide extra support services within hospitals, social services, charitable and voluntary organisations.

Your work would usually include:

  • Interviewing prospective volunteers.
  • Matching individuals to vacancies.
  • Arranging training.
  • Mentoring volunteers.
  • Providing ongoing coaching and support.
  • Assisting volunteers by giving advice, information and resources.

You could be responsible for making grant applications, keeping records and accounts, managing a budget and organising fund raising. You might also work on committees, supervise paid staff, give talks and arrange advertising and publicity.

When working with smaller organisations or departments, you may be involved with a wider range of duties, including project management, policy development and outreach work.

You would typically work around 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. With some organisations, you may need to cover weekends and evenings. Part-time work is often available, particularly in smaller organisations that may not have the budget to employ a full-time organiser.

You will be mainly office-based, but some travel is likely to attend meetings with other organisations and to visit volunteers.

Volunteer organisers can earn between £16,000 and £25,000 a year. With experience, this can rise to between £30,000 and £35,000.

Many volunteer organiser posts are part-time and pro-rata rates may apply.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

You can work with local and national voluntary organisations and charities, political parties or pressure groups, and other organisations in the 'not-for-profit' sector (such as hospitals, hospices and community health organisations).

Competition for work is strong, especially with well-known charities.

There are opportunities all over the UK, although you may find most work is available in cities.

Education and Training

Many employers will prefer you to have a BTEC HND or degree (social science subjects are the most relevant), and a good understanding of the voluntary sector. You will also usually need experience as a volunteer, possibly including coordinating projects or mentoring new volunteers. Extensive experience and training may be accepted as an alternative to qualifications.

You can find out about local volunteering opportunities through Volunteering England.

As a volunteer, you may help your career by completing a course such as the Community Volunteering Qualifications (CVQ) levels 1 to 3 developed by the ASDAN (Award Scheme Development Accreditation Network).

You could consider taking a course created by an organisation called Working for a Charity. Their Foundation Course includes seven one-day seminars plus a 20-day charity placement, and their Effective Voluntary Sector Management course is available online.

If you have A levels, you could gain access to relevant training and experience through Barnardo's Pathway Volunteer Scheme. This is a three month programme offering placements in areas such as volunteer development, fund raising, and policy work.

Other national charities, such as Cancer Research UK, also have trainee schemes. However, these tend to prepare you generally for working in this sector, rather than focusing specifically on volunteer organising or management.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Once working, you will usually receive on-the-job training from experienced staff. You may also be encouraged to take external training courses such as the Excellence In Volunteer Management (EVM) programme run by Volunteering England. Through the EVM you can gain an accredited qualification in volunteer management and get involved in a range of networking events.

You can search for courses, which are part of the EVM, on the Volunteer England website.

There is a variety of other vocational qualifications you could choose, such as:

  • NVQ levels 3, 4 and 5 Management of Volunteers
    (awarded by ILM).
  • Level 3 Award Managing Volunteers (awarded by NOCN)
  • Levels 2 and 3 Managing Voluntary and Community Organisations (awarded by NOCN)
  • Level 3 Award in Volunteer Management (awarded by Lantra).

If you have a degree, you could take a postgraduate course in for example, volunteer management or community engagement.

You can find networking opportunities, advice and resources on the website of the Association of Volunteer Managers.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A volunteer organiser needs:

  • The ability to relate to people from a wide range of backgrounds.
  • Excellent spoken communication skills.
  • The ability to lead and motivate others.
  • Enthusiasm and a positive, outgoing attitude.
  • Self-motivation and a flexible approach to your role
  • A commitment to the issues of your organisation.
  • Tact and patience.
  • Administrative and basic IT skills.
  • Good maths skills for budgeting and keeping accounts.

Your Long Term Prospects

Promotion prospects can depend on the size of the organisation and their finances. Short-term contracts are common and moves are often sideways to a similar position in another organisation. You may need to move to a larger charity in order to gain promotion or a higher salary.

Experience in this post may help you move into related careers, for example in youth and community work, social work or charity fund raising

Get Further Information

Barnardo's, Tanners Lane,
Barkingside, Ilford, Essex IG6 1QG
Tel: 0208 550 8822
Website: www.barnardos.org.uk

Cancer Research UK, Angel Building,
407 St John Street, London EC1V 4AD
Tel: 020 7242 0200
Website: www.cancerresearchuk.org

Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM)
Stowe House, Netherstowe, Lichfield,
Staffordshire WS13 6TJ
Tel: 01543 266867
Website: www.i-l-m.com

Volunteer Scotland
Website: www.volunteerscotland.org.uk

Volunteer Development Agency
Website: www.volunteering-ni.org

Volunteering England
Website: www.volunteering.org.uk

Volunteering Wales
Website: www.volunteering-wales.net

Working For A Charity,
NCVO, Regent's Wharf,
8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL
Tel: 020 7520 2512
Website: www.wfac.org.uk

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