Information for Organisations

Below is a quick guide to writing effective volunteering opportunity adverts and preparing voluntary role descriptions.

Volunteer role description – guidance notes

This guide will help you give potential volunteers all the information they need about your volunteer opportunity.

Opportunity title

Say what it is - don’t just put ‘volunteer’.  After-school group leader, sports coach, befriender, treasurer, driver, carer, etc.

Purpose of the role

Say why this role/work is important – what difference does it make?

What you will be doing

Describe the main tasks/activities of the role:

  • Will it involve working on their own, or as part of a team, or assisting someone else…?
  • What does it involve - eg travel, caring, physical work, organising, assisting, leading, teaching, customer service, computing, fundraising…?
  • What are the specific tasks?

If the role involves direct work with clients, give relevant information about their needs.

Skills, experience and qualities needed

Be clear and realistic about the minimum level of skill/experience required to start this role, (eg a community transport driver might need a clean driving licence and good ‘people’ skills).


Although it might be tempting to compile a long list of the qualities of your ‘ideal’ volunteer, try to focus on what’s really important to get them started in the role. For example asking that people have a commitment to your aims and objectives at this stage (when they barely know what you do) could be quite off-putting to someone who’s only just heard of your organisation. Commitment will develop if volunteers are valued and treated with respect.


If the role is suitable for absolutely anyone, say so. Consider what support you could offer to help people develop once in the role.

When and where

  • Times/days needed – what days, what time of day, how often, is this flexible?
  • Where will the volunteer be based? Is this different from the main organisational address?

Support offered

Give information about expenses, induction and training, supervision/line management, insurance cover etc

What you could get out of it

Benefits to volunteers, eg training, new skills, chance to get out in the fresh air, meet new people etc. (Think back to ‘motivations’).

Other information

For example if volunteers need to be able to commit to a minimum level of training, or if this role is subject to criminal record Disclosure (explain why and include a short policy statement on recruitment of ex-offenders).  What is the application/selection process, eg references?

Guideance of response times

When a volunteer applies for one of your roles we would expect you to make contact with volunteers within 10 working days. If a volunteer is not suitable for your orgnasation, please refer them back to County Durham Volunteer team so we can support them to find an alternative role. 

Further Support for Organisations

Durham Community Action is an Accredited Volunteer Centre for County Durham.

We support organisations, large and small, to help them recruit volunteers and to provide them with advice on policies and procedures, so that volunteers and organisations can flourish.  Our help includes coordination and provision of background information, training, checks, policies and procedures that organisations and volunteers need to operate and to thrive.

You can find more information about our support and training at Durham Community Action