Frequently Asked Questions
To learn more about the voluntary sector read our Introduction to the voluntary sector
To understand more about what skilled volunteering is, how to chose the right role and how to make the relationship with the voluntary organisation work, read our Guide for first time volunteers
What skills and experience will I need to be a Reach skilled volunteer?
Reach is looking for anyone with skills who is eager to use these to benefit voluntary organisations. If you have managerial, technical or professional expertise then you can become a Reach skilled volunteer. We generally suggest that you have at least three years relevant experience.
All our volunteers will have established skills gained through their experience in the work place. For example, our finance related voluntary roles, such as treasurers, are suitable for qualified accountants or people with board level financial experience not for those who are still training. We do not offer volunteering roles that provide skills training or work experience to those without prior experience. We do not register volunteers who are looking for work placements or internships.
We can sometime make an exception for volunteers who have training but no experience in new technologies such as graphic design, web design and digital media. Where we receive applications from potential volunteer with these particular skill sets, we will consider their registrations on a case by case basis.
What kind of people volunteer for Reach placements?
Our volunteers are varied, some are retired or on career breaks, others are working full or part time. Some volunteer to build their CV and career, others to give back to their communities. We have skilled volunteers from across the UK, many working to help organisations in their own communities.
Volunteering can be hugely rewarding and your skills will mean that you can make a real difference to an organisation.
How do we define volunteering?
Volunteering is defined as:
"an activity which involves spending time, unpaid, doing something which aims to benefit someone (individuals or groups) other than or in addition to close relatives, or to benefit the environment."
The principles behind volunteering are that it is..
- mutually beneficial (to individual and to organisation)
- independently chosen and freely given
- enabling and flexible wherever possible
- has a community or social benefit
- offered to not-for-profit activities
What level of commitment will I have to make?
With Reach you have control over the level of commitment which you want to make. You can chose the kind of organisation which you would like to help: whether a local group or big charity and what kind of area inspires you, for example child welfare, the environment or the arts.
You can shape exactly how much time you want to give. Some Reach volunteers like to devote many hours a week to voluntary work while others may commit a few hours a month. You may have time free during normal working hours or prefer to keep your involvement to evenings and/or weekends.
Some projects are short term and one off, others will require a longer term commitment. You may consider a trustee role which could involve monthly or bi-monthly meetings. You can specify your preferences when you register and can decide to which organisations your details are forwarded to. For more information, read our Reach volunteer agreement.
Can I volunteer and work at the same time?
Reach finds roles for people whether they are working full time or part time, retired or not in work. Some voluntary work takes place during evenings or at weekends and provides a welcome change from the normal demands of your working life. We also help with short placements typically during career breaks or between paid positions. Volunteering can be a good way to keep a CV up to date.
Can Reach help with broadening my skills and experience?
Our volunteers generally have 3 years experience. Many skills are transferable and can be used in a number of ways. You may choose a volunteer position that allows you to use your skills in exciting new applications, enhancing the breadth of your CV. Volunteering can allow you to work with a very different group of people and culture while giving you the security and using your experience.
What is Reach's success rate in placing people?
We place over 1,200 skilled volunteers every year so your chances of success are pretty high. However not all prospective volunteers find a place through us. Sometimes they don’t choose to follow up on our suggestions. Sometimes, after they speak to the organisation, they feel they aren’t right for the place or vice versa. Volunteers may have to wait or try more than once as we may not have the right role available immediately. However we do stay in touch and keep looking and reviewing with the volunteer.
What is the process that I will have to go through to find a volunteer placement?
How and when do I commit to an organisation?
Please click here for a full guide to the Reach process including advice on what you will need to commit to and when.
How long do the roles usually last?
This will vary by role; we have some volunteer opportunities which are one off specific projects, others that will be a longer-term role and some, particularly board appointments, which can be fixed term, usually three to four years. We suggest that you discuss the time and length of commitment with the organisation before you take up the role.
What can I do if I am not happy in the role?
Most people find that they can find the role to suit their skills and availability and find a great deal of satisfaction in contributing to the voluntary organisation. However if you aren’t happy, or if your circumstances change, you are free to leave your voluntary position though you might want to give them some notice. You are always welcome to come back to Reach and look for other opportunities.