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Volunteering

What makes a good volunteer role description?

Recruiting the right volunteer for a role can be challenging so it’s important to put together a good role description. Here is Nicola Nicholls, Volunteering Wales Advisor, with a few simple tips to help promote your volunteering opportunities.

A well written description can help the recruitment process happen more smoothly and efficiently. 

It’s important to provide as much information as possible in a concise, easy to read layout that will spark a volunteer’s interest. 

If you haven’t interested the volunteer within the first few minutes then they may move on to another opportunity!

A suggestion is to put yourself in the volunteer’s shoes when writing the description – do you find it interesting, would you be tempted to apply for it yourself?  

If the answer is no, perhaps think about rephrasing the information or ask a friend or colleague to read it through, to provide honest and constructive feedback.

What information should be included?

A ‘snappy’ title is always a good start. The more fully defined the opportunity the better fit the volunteers you attract will be. 

The first few lines of the description are the most important to get right as this will encourage a volunteer to find out more.

It is a good idea to include:

  • an outline of an activity the volunteer will be undertaking;
  • details of the tasks involved;
  • any training provided;
  • if there are out of pocket expenses paid;
  • what you expect from the volunteer;
  • what the volunteer may expect from you;
  • benefits a volunteer will gain from their involvement
  • details of particular skills needed to undertake the role.
  • information on support and supervision – volunteering is a two-way thing
  • travel information

Once you have your volunteer role descriptions, you can use the Volunteering Wales digital platform to promote your roles across the whole of Wales.

This website is bilingual and organisations (providers as they are known on the website) are encouraged wherever possible to upload opportunities in both Welsh and English.  

Guidance is also available on the website to facilitate this, which includes translation of common phrases that are used in describing volunteer roles.

Tagging

You can also add key words (or ‘tags’ as they are widely known) to help the websites search function. 

They are a great way to organise your opportunities and improve the chances of a volunteer finding a suitable opportunity.

Welsh language

We encourage you to be aware of the Welsh Language Standards in your work and to add tags to your opportunities in Welsh and English to enable volunteers that wish to search in Welsh to do so. 

For other ways to promote the Welsh Language see our information sheet Promoting Welsh Language through volunteering

Location

It’s important to let the volunteer know the location of your opportunity, which can be done on the website. 

This helps volunteers search and select suitable opportunities. 

There is a flexible location system where you can select a single point, an area, or the volunteer from home option so that you can take part in the opportunity from anywhere.

It’s unnecessary to include your organisation details in the description section as this will automatically be displayed on screen together with the opportunity details.

If you’d like further guidance on preparing a role description or on using the Volunteering Wales digital platform, your local Volunteer Centre will be happy to provide you with support and advice. 

Alternatively, contact the Volunteering Team at CAVO on gen@cavo.org.uk or 01570 423 232

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Turning experience into employment

One of the many benefits of volunteering is that it is great activity through which to learn and develop personal and professional skills, such as confidence, the ability to work as a team, or how to deal with challenging situations. Such skills, and the valuable experience that volunteering brings, can be helpful in gaining employment, for the first time, or in changing careers or in preparing for college or university.

We know that many people choose volunteering to purposefully assist them on their path to employment or education, particularly young people, who may get involved in volunteering to help them learn about the world of work or find out more about a career path.

However, the act of volunteering is one thing, turning this into employment related experience or a personal statement for a UCAS form is another.

To help volunteers of all ages to do this, we worked with WCIA to develop a simple presentation and infographic that could be used to help volunteers understand what they have gained from volunteering and turn it into language that could be used on a CV, in a personal statement or in an interview.

This resource is now available here as an infographic and presentation.

The resource can be used by volunteers themselves or used as a tool by someone that supports volunteers in most settings.

WCVA welcomes feedback on their tools and resources, so please get in touch to let us know if this works for you or your volunteers or if you think improvements could be made.

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