What our volunteers do
We are indebted to over 20,000 highly trained volunteers who support the delivery of our work. Our volunteers come from all sorts of backgrounds and help with everything we do: fundraising, IT, administration, campaigning, trusteeship, supporting witnesses - and, of course, giving advice including as a telephone assessor.
Volunteering opportunities will vary overtime and between local Citizens Advice.
Our volunteer roles
"I get a real feeling of satisfaction from making a difference, especially for people less able to stand up for their rights.”
Sheila, Citizens Advice, Stretford
Volunteers who give advice to our clients are at the heart of our service and we could not manage without them. Volunteer advisers receive full training in the skills needed to help people deal with their problems and learn how to find the information the client needs from our extensive database. Volunteers are supported and supervised as they begin to give advice and will get feedback and development opportunities throughout their time with Citizens Advice. There are a variety of roles and tasks up to giving full advice. Advisers do some or all of this:
- finding out the key points of a clients problem
- finding out what a clients problem is and helping them understand self-help information so the client can act for themselves
- helping a client with debts to work out a reasonable rate of repayment and supporting them to negotiate this with creditors
- interviewing a homeless client to find out what their housing options are and helping the client decide their next steps
- interviewing a client that has been sacked and finding out whether they have lost their job unfairly or not.
You don’t need specific qualifications or experience to train for the role. You’d need:
- an ability to understand complex information
- be polite and good at listening
- to be familiar with using keyboard skills and searching the internet
- to be able to input data accurately
- a good level of literacy and numeracy
- to be open minded and not judge clients
- to enjoy helping people.
Please note: If you're a law student and you train as a Citizens Advice adviser, you can get up to six months off your solicitor training contract!
Our Receptionists are the public face of every local Citizens Advice, managing ‘front-of-house’ based on the information given by the advice session supervisor. Depending on the size and resources of the local Citizens Advice, the receptionist role may be carried out by more than one person. Our receptionists carry out the following duties:
- greet our clients and other visitors
- answer the phone
- ensure clients know what is happening and how long they have to wait
- explain the services on offer
- give clients leaflets, lists and self-help materials
- take records of the number of client visits and how long they wait to be seen
- keep the reception area tidy
- enter information into computer systems.
You don't need specific qualifications and experience but you'd need to:
- be polite when talking to people
- have basic computing skills
- have an understanding of, and commitment to, confidentiality
- be friendly and approachable.
Not all clients need advice – some just need help to find the right information. Others need support to use digital services. Our digital and information assistants provide exactly that, helping clients to use things like tablets, kiosks, online PCs, benefits calculators and direct-dial phones. In doing so, they help build the skills and confidence of clients to find information online and use digital services like vehicle tax renewal, finding a rented property and claiming benefits. They do some or all of these activities:
- explaining the service to members of the public
- supporting clients with using self-help services including tablets, kiosks and PCs
- helping clients to identify the correct leaflet, self-help resource or service provider
- identifying when clients need to be referred for more help
- signposting clients appropriately to suit their needs following agreed protocols
- recording client numbers and issues.
Specific qualifications and experience aren't required to take on the role. You need to be:
- competent in using IT to complete forms and conduct transactions online
- polite, friendly, open and approachable.
As a Citizens Advice volunteer administrator you'll help to make sure the local Citizens Advice runs as smoothly as possible. Some of the duties our administrators do are:
- word processing
- file management
- arranging local events
- using databases and spreadsheets
- answering emails and phone calls
- updating local information.
“It’s rewarding to help people understand and manage their finances. Hopefully we are giving them the skills and confidence to avoid a debt crisis in the future”
David, Financial Capability Trainer
More and more local Citizens Advice centres are working in their communities to help people to improve how they manage their money by holding financial education sessions. Our Financial volunteers are involved in the following:
- holding training sessions on budgeting, borrowing, saving and banking
- helping with national awareness events like Energy Best Deal and Scams Awareness Week
- assisting the trainer
- giving administrative support
- helping with marketing and publicising sessions
- working with our clients to find out how much we help them .
By using evidence that Citizens Advice gets from our clients, you could help bring about changes in local and national policies and services which can benefit everyone - even those who have never used a local Citizens Advice before. As a campaigner you'll:
- fill out and gather evidence forms which explain the detail of what our clients come to us about
- find out and raise relevant issues in the local Citizens Advice
- train other staff and volunteers in finding out about issues and completing evidence forms
- carry out research and write reports
- get involved in media campaigning
- work with other local Citizens Advice centres and organisations.
A wide range of our essential work depends on robust IT systems. We use them for keeping track of cases, keeping in touch with our clients, assessing e-services on their behalf and monitoring trends. As an IT support volunteer you would do some or all of these activities:
- support local Citizens Advice staff and volunteers
- get to the root of any technical problems and solve these
- web design
- train local Citizens Advice staff and volunteers in IT skills
- assist with email advice.
Each local Citizens Advice needs to raise their profile in their local community to get funding, recruit more volunteers, promote local and national Citizens Advice campaigns and help people know how they can use local Citizens Advice services. As a PR/marketing volunteer you’d help to:
- produce promotional materials such as leaflets that can be used locally
- edit press releases shared by the national Citizens Advice press office so that they can be used locally
- build relationships with your local media contacts and share local stories
- find out if stories about your local Citizens Advice's work has appeared in local papers and on TV and radio
- identify case studies of our clients or volunteers who would be willing to talk to the media
- write content for your local Citizens Advice website or newsletter if it has one
- be trained to be a local media spokesperson
- arrange events, displays and talks to promote the local Citizens Advice
- identify opportunities for your local Citizens Advice to get involved in our annual Advice Week or other national events such as Volunteers Week.
Each local Citizens Advice is a registered charity reliant on money from local authorities, companies, charitable trusts and individuals. As a fundraiser you'd:
- work with the local Citizens Advice treasurer or other trustees to meet fundraising targets
- help with researching fundraising opportunities
- organise fundraising events
- help fill out and submit fundraising applications
- put together presentations to give to potential funders.
Many local Citizens Advice centres run volunteer recruitment campaigns throughout the year either to help them expand their services or to replace volunteers who've left. Some have volunteers with a specific role to run these campaigns, others might include this in their general PR/marketing. In this role you'd:
- produce local volunteer recruitment materials – leaflets and posters
- find case studies about current volunteers for your local newspapers
- organise stands or displays in local community venues
- give talks about volunteering for local Citizens Advice
- run open days for potential volunteers
- update the local Citizens Advice website with volunteering opportunities
- deal with volunteer enquiries forwarded from this website.
Our Witness Service volunteers help us to run this important and vital civic service. Based at 300 different criminal court locations across England and Wales, our volunteers provide free emotional and practical help to anyone faced with appearing in court as a prosecution or defence witness. Our Witness Service volunteers are involved in:
- explaining court procedures and practices
- taking witnesses along to see a court
- going with witnesses to court throughout the length of a trial
- providing emotional support and help when a trial ends or breaks down
- visiting the witness at home
- referring witnesses to other support services.
Your next step?
Could you join us? Search for volunteering opportunities with us.