Volunteering is important as it offers vital help to worthwhile causes, people in need and the wider community. It can connect you to your community by allowing you to help improve the lives of your community members, making it a better place for everyone to live in.
Being a volunteer not only makes a difference in the lives of others, but it can also benefit us personally. Giving your time and carrying out acts of kindness, whether small or large, can increase happiness, life satisfaction and a general sense of wellbeing. It can open doors to new opportunities and experiences, enabling you to learn new skills, make new friends and provide valuable support to your community.
This website provides volunteering guidance and signposting to information and opportunities on the Isle of Man. The Council Voluntary Organisations (CVO) can provide further volunteering advice by phone on +44 7624 461247; at firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit CVO social media page
I want to volunteer! How do I get started?
There are lots of ways you can get involved! Firstly, you need to consider a few things in order to find the right volunteering position for you. You might want to begin with asking yourself the following questions before you start your search –
- Why do you want to volunteer?
- What are you interested in? What topics or issues do you find really interesting?
- What causes are important to you?
- What activities do you really enjoy?
- What are your skills?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Do you want to work on your own or in a group?
- How much time can you realistically give to volunteering?
- How flexible can you be?
- What do you want to gain from the experience?
- What do you most want to learn from the experience?
- Will this experience help you in the future/boost your career prospects?
Ways to volunteer
Once you have considered why you want to volunteer, what you hope to achieve from the experience and the amount of time you have to volunteer, it’s now time to do a little research to find the opportunity that’s right for you.
Here are some examples of volunteering activities:
- Children and young people - Playgroups, craft clubs, youth clubs, holiday schemes, scouts, girlguiding, mentoring, sport clubs/coaching, supporting charities.
- Older people - Visiting, befriending, offering practical help such as gardening, shopping, support using the internet, attending appointments, helping at community hubs, organising activities, transport.
- Children or adults with disabilities - Providing practical support to someone with a disability such as gardening, support using the internet, shopping or attending appointments, befriending, helping at group outings, providing respite for carers, recording books and newspapers for people with visual impairments.
- Families - Giving support to families who are finding it difficult to cope.
- Mental health - Befriending and assisting with social activities, fundraising for a charity, raising awareness.
- Homeless people - Information and advice, assisting in hostels or outreach programmes, supporting related charities.
- Hospitals - Visiting patients, providing transport to and from appointments, hospital guides, organising the loan of books and magazines to patients, helping out with activities.
- Advice work - In a Citizens Advice Bureau or other local advice organisation.
- Counselling - Alcohol and drug problems, relationship problems, victim support, the Samaritans.
- Environment/conservation - Beach cleaning, terrestrial and marine survey work, uncovering archaeological sites, educating and public engagement, clearing paths and communal areas, planting trees, wildlife restoration, practical reserve conservation.
- Sports and leisure - Coaching, leadership, organising activities, assisting at a sporting event.
- Fundraising - Organising events like bake sales, charity balls or sponsored walks, sport tournaments, participating in treks or cycling events overseas, working in a charity shop, being part of a fundraising committee.
- Emergency services - St John Ambulance, Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
- Management - Joining the management committee of a voluntary/community organisation.
- Government - Being an NHS volunteer or a committee member, helping at an event.
- Arts and heritage - Helping in museums, backstage at performances, community arts and drama, gardening at heritage sites, digitisation of museum collections, storytelling at heritage sites.
- Community development - Becoming involved in your local community; helping out at the local civic centre, campaigning or lobbying on local issues.
- Animals - Helping at an animal rescue centre, dog walking, monitoring local wildlife.
- Campaigning - Joining a campaign or a cause you care about, or start your own campaign.
Some of these activities may require specific skills or experience, however, do not let that deter you from making enquiries – if you’re interested, get in touch with the organisation and see what happens!
If you’re still unsure, don’t worry – the activities listed above are just suggestions and not exhaustive. Go to the Searching for volunteering opportunities dropdown below for some useful resources to help you with your research.
Searching for volunteering opportunities
You now have an idea of what you might like to do! The next step is to carry out further research related to your interests, to find contact details for charities and organisations that you might be able to help. Use these resources below to help you get started and discover opportunities that are more suited to your interests and skills.
Volunteer with Government
Volunteer with charities
A selection of volunteer opportunities around the Island
This is only a small list - there is a huge range of opportunities to volunteer your time and skills on the Isle of Man. Look out for more volunteering opportunities in the local press and on social media.
The Isle of Man Sport website includes a useful list of all recognised sports on Island for anyone interested in volunteering for a sport club. Search for contact details using a search engine and get in touch with the clubs directly to see if there are any volunteering opportunities.
Try to think outside the box during your searches and you may find inspiration in unlikely places – for example, a local business directory or the Index of charities registered in the Isle of Man may spark an interest!
If your organisation has a volunteering opportunity that you would like us to include in this list, please contact us.
Careers and advice on volunteering
For some, volunteering can lead to employment or provide a chance to try new skills which could lead to a career change. By showcasing your experience, interests and passions on your CV, a potential employer can learn many things about you, including that you can take initiative, you’re committed and that you can be a team player.
The UK's National Careers Service website offers useful information and advice on volunteering.
Volunteering can have lifelong benefits for young people and help develop skills that will benefit them in school, their career and in life. The experience could help build confidence and boost self-esteem, establish new friendships, gain new skills and inspire future career choices.
There are many ways for the youth to get involved such as being a good neighbour, fundraising for a cause you care about or volunteering with a local organisation. There are some organisations that may not be able to insure under 16s so be sure to ask them that their insurance covers your age group.
Here are some examples of independent volunteering activities for young people:
- Visit an elderly or isolated neighbour and family member.
Connect with people in your community who have trouble leaving the house and would benefit from short, regular visits.
- Help other students with homework after school
If there is a subject that you excel in, consider offering help to your classmates or younger students who may not have access to tutors.
- Offer practical help to the elderly and family to save time
Food shopping and small garden tasks, for example, may take less than an hour of your time per week, but could make a huge difference in someone’s life.
- Donate old clothes or toys
Give away old clothes and items you no longer use to charities.
- Walk your neighbour’s dog
If someone is unable to care for a pet, you may want to consider spending time with that person as they may be feeling isolated or lonely.
- Fundraise for a cause you care about
Organise a sponsored walk or bake sale for a cause close to your heart and ask friends and family to support it too.
- Organise a beach clean or community clean up
Make a difference and participate in an organised beach clean.
There are organisations and clubs that organise volunteering activities for young people as part of their programme such as:
Duke of Edinburgh – a programme for young people aged between 14 to 25 years old organised via secondary schools, voluntary youth organisations or youth groups.
Rights as a volunteer
Equal opportunities and diversity
While volunteers are generally not covered by equality legislation, it is good practice for organisations to include volunteers in equal opportunities and/or diversity policies, as this demonstrates commitment to ensuring equality of opportunity, fairness of treatment, dignity at work and the elimination of all forms of discrimination.
For more information about the Equality Act 2017, visit the Equality Act website.
Health and Safety
Volunteers have the right to expect to be safe when they are volunteering for an organisation. Although volunteers are not included in Health and Safety legislation in the same way as paid staff, any organisation involving volunteers has a legal responsibility and a ‘duty of care’ towards their volunteers and this includes having insurance that covers volunteers.
Pay and expenses
Volunteering is generally unpaid work, however, there may be some instances where volunteers receive money to cover expenses. Most organisations should have a policy on volunteer expenses which will set out whether or not expenses are covered. If the policy allows for some expenses to be covered, there should be guidelines that you can follow, if appropriate.
The Attorney General is the registrar and regulator of charities which are established in the Isle of Man and/or which are carrying out activities here. For more information about the role of the Attorney general concerning charities in the Island, visit the Attorney General's Chambers website.
For guidance notes and a Frequently Asked Questions document, including how to raise a complaint in relation to how a charity operates visit this section of the Attorney General’s Chamber website.
The organisation you're volunteering for must keep to rules (“principles”) about collecting and storing your personal information (this could be in electronic communications, such as emails or SMS, computer files or paper files etc). The organisation must also comply with your rights, which include the right to be given information about how the organisation will use your personal data and the right of access to your personal data.
For more information about data protection, including the rules and your rights as an individual, go to the Information Commissioner’s website.
Volunteering whilst in receipt of benefits
You can volunteer while receiving benefits as long as the work is unpaid and you continue to meet all the conditions of your benefit. You will also need to inform the benefits and financial support office of your intention to volunteer. For further information and contact details, visit this section of the Benefits and Financial Support website.
Safeguarding is about protecting everyone from harm, abuse or neglect. It is important for volunteers to understand how to spot the signs of abuse and neglect and how to report any concerns that you may have.
If you come across a child, young person or vulnerable adult who appears to be in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police.
If you have any concerns for the welfare or wellbeing of an individual and they are not in immediate danger, visit the safeguarding website for contact information.
Do not put any information on social media, or through other media channels, which may reveal information about the individual/household or the nature of the support they are receiving or perceived nature of support they require, without their expressed consent.
For further guidance on your safeguarding responsibilities as a volunteer and action you can take.
Having a record should not stop you from volunteering, but it may limit what you can do. You will need to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) if your volunteer role involves access to young people or vulnerable adults.
For more information on DBS checks and frequently asked questions, visit:
The Council Voluntary Organisations works closely with Third Sector Organisations, offering help, advice and shared resources.