Volunteering can be extremely beneficial for anyone because it helps promote mental and physical health and also increases employability - especially for people who are just starting out and need to get work experience to develop their career. It’s important for all professionals to find time, no matter how busy they are to do charity work and make the most of these experiences on their CVs.
The key to finding a rewarding volunteer opportunity is to look for work that is meaningful to you and allows you to meet your goals. Below you’ll find a list of the top 10 volunteering organisations in the UK which will make searching for this kind of opportunity simple.
What makes Reach different from the rest of the volunteer organisations on the list is that it’s dedicated to bringing skilled professionals and organisations that are in need together.
With thirty-five years of experience in the sector, there’s no doubt that Reach can deliver exactly what they promise: to help you put your best skills to work to make a difference in the world.
The people at Reach also understand that for a volunteer to deliver great results, s/he needs to be motivated. They advise people to treat volunteer opportunities as paid jobs; i.e. ensure that you have similar beliefs and make sure that you have the right skillset to get the job done before you apply.
To make things even easier, you are also advised to prepare beforehand so that you know exactly what you are looking for. Note how much spare time you have, what causes you’re passionate about and what you are interested in working for and what your end goal is; are you just interested in helping a cause you care about or do you also want to improve your skill set?
Do-It is a national volunteering database that is dedicated to connecting volunteers with non-for- profit organisations. The Do-It database includes over one million opportunities which are available to the approximately 200,000 people who volunteer via the organisation on a monthly basis.
Do-It was created out of the need to revolutionise the volunteering sector through the use of new and emerging technologies. The website/app utilises a very modern approach to matching volunteers and organisations. Their search engine offers various filters to help people find an opportunity that fits their specific needs which means that you can search for roles by choosing how much time and when you’d like to do charity work, what your interests are and what skills you are interested in gaining.
If you can’t find anything using their database you can also search for a volunteering centre near you and to what opportunities they offer.
NCVO offers a diverse community of 12,500 organisations which amounts to roughly one-third of the voluntary sector in England. The NSCVO is dedicated to helping the voluntary sector advance and grow, and it’s their mission to help their members make a big difference in society.
Although the NCVO doesn’t place volunteers into organisations directly, you should still consider going through their service as they offer opportunities with some of the most credible charities across the country.
4. Charity Job
Charity Job’s mission is to help charities save money recruiting for their staffing needs. One of the most passionate and dedicated organisations in the sector, Charity Job is confident that if funding issues were eliminated from the voluntary sector, it could change the world as we know it.
Their database offers both paid positions within the sector as well as voluntary roles. What’s more, they also offer information on available courses and workshops -some of which are free- which will help you advance your skills.
What’s great about Charity Job is that their database is so well-built you’ll have no trouble finding an opportunity that caters to your specific needs. Filtering by money, distance, level or qualification - among others - it will take only a few you minutes to find what you’re looking for.
TimeBank is another organisation that’s dedicated to reshaping the world. What’s special about TimeBank is that they take volunteers and mentor them to work on projects that could have a real impact on the society.
TimeBank also offers a rating tool on their website which allows volunteers to offer valuable feedback to organisations; this way organisations can make any adjustments required to their opportunities.
It offers various mentoring projects that are designed to help create a new way to volunteer, while they also help encourage new people to get involved with charity work. Programmes range from teaching English to providing support for refugees and asylum seekers.
6. Volunteering Matters
With more than 30,000 volunteers and 90,000 beneficiaries, Volunteering Matters is one of the leading volunteering organisations in the country. Through their long experience in the field, they have come to realise that investing in volunteers can truly make a difference in society.
To find a volunteer opportunity you simply need to add your postcode and decide how far from home you’d be willing to commute to (options range from 2 miles to any distance). Their search engine will then generate results which you can filter according to how much time you have available (e.g.,. over the holidays, part-time, full-time, etc.) and who you are interested in helping (elderly, young, families, etc.). You can also add in your age and other personal information if you’d like to get results that are specific to your needs.
Vinspired is the leading volunteering organisation in the UK for young people. Its target age group is people between 14 and 25 years old, and its aim is to help young people join causes they are passionate about. The organisation also tries to teach young people various skills that won’t only benefit them in their personal development, but will also come in handy in the professional world as well.
Vinspired offers two paths to young people. The first tries to match them with available opportunities and the second incentivizes young people to set up their own projects.
To find an available opportunity you simply need to enter your postcode, age, interests and time you are willing to commit. The search engine then generates results that cater to your specific preferences. What’s important to note is that Vinspired is dedicated to helping people translate their voluntary experiences into work skills.
If you are more interested in setting up your own voluntary programme you simply need to pitch your idea to the organisation and explain how your idea will benefit the community and others. If your project has potential, you will receive material support to bring your project to life.
8. Volunteer Match
Volunteer Match is dedicated to bringing volunteers to causes they are passionate about. The organisation looks at your interests - e.g., working with animals, art, children, etc.- and generates results based on your interests.
You’ll find opportunities both locally, as well as work you can do from home which can be great if you’d much rather do charitable work from the comfort of your own home.
9. Red Cross
One of the biggest voluntary networks in the work, the British Red Cross is always in need of a hand. The Red Cross is dedicated to helping individuals in need no matter who they are and what kind of assistance they require.
There are many volunteer opportunities within the Red Cross. Whether you’d like to help out in one of their shops or help young refugees adjust to their new life, you’ll always be able to find a role that is suitable to you.
10. Community Works
Community Works tries to make a difference in local communities, and provide voluntary and community organisations with volunteers to aid in their projects. People interested in volunteering can contact the organisation and it will help them find a role that caters to their skills and fits their programmes.
Finding the right volunteer opportunity could help you advance your skills as well as allow you to make a difference in the world. To make the most of this experience make sure you find a role via a credible volunteer organisation.
Have you ever volunteered? Would you be more interested in volunteering at home or would an opportunity to volunteer in the next Olympics suit you better? Let me know in the comment section below!