At your Students’ Union Volunteer Centre, we understand that volunteering for the first time might be a daunting prospect, and that you may have a lot of questions that you’d like answered before you get stuck in. We’ve put together this list of things that you might find useful to know, so have a read through!
And remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, or have a question about a specific project, don’t hesitate to drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a ring on 0115 8468750.
You can also connect with us on social media through:
Facebook: Student Volunteer Centre – University of Nottingham Students’ Union
Who can volunteer?
To put it simply - anyone! All students, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, part-time or full-time, home or international, are more than welcome to get involved with one of the many charities we work with.
There’s so many different opportunities - what should I do?
First and foremost, volunteering is about trying something new, and having some fun, so we recommend going for an opportunity that you think you’ll enjoy. If you’re staring at the projects page with no clue which one to choose, your Students’ Union Volunteer Centre team can help! Simply fill out this form and give us a few ideas of what you’re interested in or what types of skills you’d like to develop, and we’ll make some suggestions to you. If you’d prefer to chat in person, drop us an e-mail, and we can arrange an appointment.
I didn’t sign up during Welcome - is it too late?
It’s never too late to start volunteering! Some charities require a minimum commitment, but most are more than happy to accept new recruits all year round. The SU Volunteer Centre is also open throughout the summer months, so if you’re a postgrad student, or you’re local to the Nottingham area, you can volunteer throughout the holidays too.
Do I need any previous experience to volunteer?
The majority of roles we advertise don’t require any previous experience. With volunteering, the most important thing is to be enthusiastic, and willing to get involved! Occasionally, charities are looking for students on a certain course, but if this is the case, we will always mention it on the webpage.
Can I volunteer for more than one project?
Of course! It’s completely up to you how little or how much time you give. We recommend that you start off with one so that you don’t overload yourself, but as long as you don’t take on so much that it’s detrimental to your degree, you can get involved with as many projects as you like.
Will it cost me anything to volunteer?
We are a completely free service run by the Students’ Union and believe that volunteering shouldn’t cost you a penny! Most of the charities and organisations we work with will reimburse travel expenses (bus and tram tickets, car mileage), and any reasonable out of pocket expenses. If the charity is unable to do so, this will be made clear on their webpage, and the Volunteer Centre can reimburse you instead.
The project I’ve chosen requires me to fill out an application form - is there someone that can help me with it?
The Volunteer Coordinators are more than happy to help you with application forms – just arrange an appointment with one of us.
I have emailed a charity or organisation but they haven’t got back to me - what can I do about this?
Our charities partners are often busy, so we ask that you allow two working weeks for them to respond to your enquiry. If you still haven’t heard back after this time has passed, please let us know and we can follow this up for you.
I study at Sutton Bonington (SB) /Derby - can I get involved?
Absolutely! One of our coordinators is dedicated to improving access to volunteering opportunities for students who aren’t based in Nottingham. Scroll down to the bottom of the ongoing projects page and look at the SB and Derby sections. There are also a number of volunteering student-led projects which are based at SB and Derby; you can find them on the student-led projects page.
If you’re from the SB or Derby campuses and would like to have your say on what types of volunteering you’d like to get involved in, complete our quick survey.
I want to set up my own volunteering project - is that possible?
The short answer is – yes! We support almost 30 student-led projects, which are like mini-charities. If you have a great idea that you’d like to turn into reality, get in touch with us, and we’ll arrange a meeting to discuss the steps involved in setting a project up. For some inspiration, and further guidance documents, have a look at the student-led projects page.