Volunteering FAQs

It's natural to have questions when you're starting something new. We have answered some common questions in our FAQs, but if we haven't covered what you'd like to know, please email us.

What happens after I submit my online query?

Your query is forwarded to the best team for the type of volunteering you are interested in. Someone will then get back in touch with you, either by phone call or email, to arrange next steps.

What documentation do I need to be a volunteer?

This depends on the type of volunteering you undertake. You will be advised accordingly by one of our volunteering specialists.

What will happen on my first day?

This depends on the type of volunteering, but there are common features across all the roles:

  • Meet your team
  • Provide any information required (if you haven't already)
  • Participate in an induction to make sure you are safe during your volunteering with us and familiar with any required procedures.

What happens if I miss the call from the volunteering specialist?

Our teams will try again to contact you but if you think that you have missed a call and have not received a message then please call us back. Please also check your emails (including the junk/spam folders).

What if I change my mind?

That's fine! There are many ways that you can support the BHF and there is sure to be something for everyone. However, if your circumstances change, then do let us know so that we are aware and can make other arrangements and do not call you unnecessarily.

I'm not sure how much time I can spare each week; is that OK?

Yes, people have different commitments which mean that they can give more or less time. Others have to be flexible around timetables, work or caring responsibilities. Just be sure to discuss this with the manager so that we can do our best to find a role to suit you.

Can I apply in my local shop?

Yes. If you prefer to discuss your volunteering face to face just pop along to your local shop. The manager will be able to discuss the retail roles available in your area.

Local shops contacts can be found on our store locator.

For fundraising opportunities in your community, please contact your local Fundraising Manager.

What qualifications can I earn?

Qualifications are available in England only. Volunteers in our shops in England may be eligible for a funded NVQ in Retail. Please discuss this with your shop manager who will obtain further information from our NVQ provider.

Do you reimburse expenses?

We can reimburse some travel costs in line with our Volunteer Expense policy.

What if I have a criminal conviction?

Volunteers must not have unspent criminal convictions or be subject to any criminal registers or orders.  Should any convictions arise while volunteering, then BHF should be informed immediately.

What if I have a physical or learning disability?

Please let us know if there are any health conditions or additional needs we may need to know about that could impact your volunteering in order for us to best support you to carry out your role. There is an 'additional information' field on the application form or you can discuss this during your phone call with one of our volunteering specialists.

Can I apply for multiple roles?

Yes, you can apply for multiple roles and take part in different types of volunteering e.g. volunteer in a shop and volunteer at an event. This means you may be contacted by more than one person after making your initial enquiry.

I used to be a volunteer but left; can I come back?

There are times when a volunteer may decide to leave the BHF and later wish to return to volunteer and we would support this wherever possible.  We believe that volunteering at the BHF has to be right for you and right for us. However, there are times when this may not be the case. If you wish to return to us after taking a break then please get in touch with your manager to discuss.

Can I choose what event or area I volunteer in?

Yes, we have many opportunities across our retail shops, in communities or at our events. You can find out more about the locations of our shops, events and offices online or during the phone call with one of our volunteering specialists.

Can I choose my role?

We have many roles available across the BHF and you if you have a specific area or role that you would are interested in, just let us know when you apply. You can find out more about the roles available on our Volunteering pages.

If I start in a role and don't like it, can I change roles?

Of course, if you want to try something different then let us know and we can discuss other suitable roles that may be available.

Can I volunteer with a friend?

Yes, provided that there is a suitable role available for you both, at the times you can volunteer and that both your applications were successful.

What's the difference between volunteering, work experience and an apprenticeship?

Volunteering is giving your time freely to help and support us, during which you will gain many experiences, including the workplace environment.

Work experience is unpaid and is often arranged for a fixed length of time. It will provide you with a glimpse into the world of work and the opportunity to try something new. This is available in our shops and in our offices.

Apprenticeships provide a paid job combined with a qualification - the chance to earn and learn! Retail apprenticeships at the BHF are advertised on our BHF careers website.

I've submitted my query and haven't heard back; what should I do?

We would expect that you would have heard back from your initial enquiry within three working days. However, if you are waiting to hear back, please do get back in touch by emailing us as we value all our volunteers and want to discuss your enquiry with you. 

I'd like to volunteer but I'm a bit nervous

That's understandable as it can be daunting to try something new. We have a range of opportunities to suit everyone’s needs and you will not be expected to do any task without training and support.

Please let us know if you would prefer that a member of the BHF volunteering team calls you to chat about volunteering at the BHF to help reassure you.