Create roles for volunteers

In a successful volunteer programme, the benefits need to be two way. The roles that volunteers undertake should assist your organisation to meet its aims whilst at the same time being of benefit to the volunteer.

The key when designing new roles is to ensure that this is so. For roles to be meaningful it should be possible to describe how they contribute to the overall aim.


Who should be involved in the process?

Everyone in the organisation should be aware when you introduce volunteering or when you create new roles.

  • Staff should be consulted, particularly when the involvement of volunteers will affect their workload
  • Existing volunteers may have valuable insights and it is always helpful to look at roles from a volunteer’s perspective
  • Service users and clients may have ideas about how services could be enhanced or developed with the help of volunteers
  • Be aware that all three groups could feel threatened by the introduction of new roles and may need re-assurance. For example volunteers will not be used as a substitute for paid staff or that the quality of a service will not be less because it is delivered by volunteers
  • Trustees will need to ensure that any organisational policies are consistent with involving volunteers and include the volunteers where appropriate

Some areas to consider

  • Are you able to attract a broad range of people by having opportunities that include those that can be done by any willing helper and those that are more specialised and require particular expertise?
  • Is there flexibility in when roles can be carried out to fit in with the availability of volunteers?
  • Is the role of benefit to the volunteer?
    • How interesting or challenging is it?
    • What will they gain through it?
  • Are you able to involve volunteers who may have additional support needs?
    • What support is available?
    • What form could this take?
  • Do you have the resources available to support the roles eg supervision time, desk space, IT equipment
  • Does the nature of the role require taking up references or DBS checks



Micro-volunteering roles are short-term and task focused which can be done at the time and/or place which is convenient for the volunteer. They offer a volunteer the opportunity to dip in and out of volunteering around their other commitments.

Micro-volunteering information sheet