How to prepare for your volunteering role

Congratulations on securing your volunteering role! You might be feeling a little unsure of what to expect. Here are some top tips to help you fully prepare and feel confident ahead of your first day…

Research the organisation

This can be as simple as a quick google of the charity or school you’re volunteering for to check out their website or social media. This is handy to give you an immediate outline of what the organisation does, what their values are, and key practical info such as where they are based. Being well informed can boost your confidence, and help you think about what you would like to get out of the role. It can also help you to think of any questions you might have before you start.

Write down your goals 

Reflecting on what you would like to take away from your volunteering experience is a great way to make the most of your opportunity: whether you’d like to build a particular skill, learn something new, or meet some new people! Recording your goals, and reflecting on your experience as you go is key to making the most of your time. Check out our ‘Why Reflect?’ video to see how this has helped our previous student volunteers. 

Check your timings

Dashing in at the last minute might help you get in some cardio, but it’s not a good look for your first day. To avoid this, ensure that you check what time you need to arrive by, and be clear on where you need to go. Plan your journey and check transport links such as bus timetables. If possible, give yourself plenty of time to get ready and use your commute as a space to relax ahead of the day; you could listen to a podcast or plan a scenic walk. 

Prepare paperwork in advance

If your role requires you to complete a DBS check, you will be contacted by a member of the volunteering team with details via email. Paperwork can feel like an overwhelming task, and it’s easy to slide to the bottom of your to-do list, but getting this done and dusted will allow you to focus on enjoying your role and avoid delays in getting started. Gathering the documents you need might take a little time if you have any stored at a home address outside uni, which is another reason to get on it quickly. 

If you’ve been asked to supply references, request these promptly and politely to ensure that your contacts have time to fill these in. It can take a while for people to complete these, so an early request avoids any last minute stress. 

Check the dress code and be aware of any guidance

Your contact at the organisation may have given you some guidance on a dress code. Planning what you will be wearing can save time and help you feel ready to take on the day. It’s also practical to consider what you will be comfortable in, especially if you are doing a task which involves being outside in the British weather!

Check any guidance that the organisation has issued you to ensure that you are aware of this, such as health and safety and organisational guidelines around Covid-19. We strongly encourage our student volunteers to complete regular lateral flow tests and follow the latest university guidance for returning to campus

Feeling prepared can help you to make the most of your role so that you can enjoy it and have a great experience! If you have any of your own tips on getting ready to take on a new volunteering role, please contact us at 

Seize the year- volunteer!