NCVO tools and resources

As we prepare to add more content to this website, we're turning off the ability to sign in on and To ensure members can access what they need, member content is available to all users until the end of July. Visit our temporarily free-to-all tools and resources

Training volunteers

This page is free to all

Why train volunteers

It's your organisation's responsibility to make sure volunteers can carry out their role. Training is one way to make sure they're well prepared.

If their training is good, volunteers will feel more able to do their role. This is likely to make them want to continue volunteering.

Volunteers may be hoping to enhance their CVs or to develop new skills by volunteering. Training is often a way to meet this need.

For new volunteers, see guidance on running a volunteer induction.

What training to give

You'll need to train volunteers on whatever they need to feel confident doing their role. This will vary depending on what they do and the skills and experience they already have.

Training can involve:

  • shadowing other volunteers or staff
  • reading resources
  • online workshops
  • formal lessons
  • external courses.

Support and supervision sessions also provide training opportunities. Here volunteers can think about their work and how they contribute to the organisation.

Some volunteers will take longer to build their skills and confidence. In these cases, make sure you continue to provide the training they need.

How much training to give

To decide how much training to offer, think about:

  • how much time volunteers have available
  • how they prefer to learn
  • what they need to be able to volunteer successfully
  • what resources you have, such as staff time, materials and budget.

Depending on your resources, volunteers may get the same training as a paid member of staff.

Keep training relevant and appropriate to the volunteer's role. This avoids taking up too much of the volunteer's time.

It also makes sure training isn't seen as a perk or reward, which could make the volunteering look like paid work.

More support

Last reviewed: 12 April 2021

Help us improve this content

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 12 April 2021

Back to top

Sign up for emails

Get regular updates on NCVO's help, support and services