VOLUNTEER: THE ROLES
*All information correct at time of publication but may be subject to change at short notice.*
We have a wide variety of roles available within the service to suit all who wish to join us.
Traditionally, there have been a limited number of volunteer roles within local Citizens Advice.
Now we have more than eight roles available including adviser, trustee, research and campaigns worker, reception worker, and administrator.
Having completed the training volunteers can take on almost any role and can contribute new skills and experience.
Giving information, guidance, advice and support
Volunteers who give information, guidance, advice and support to our clients are at the heart of our service and we could not manage without them. Volunteers 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. At CASL this is completed through four different access channels; face to face, Telephone, E-mails and Web Chat and all trainees will be trained in all four routes.
Volunteers are supported and supervised as they begin to help clients and will receive feedback and development opportunities throughout their time with Citizens Advice.
There are a variety of roles and tasks leading up to giving full advice, some of these include:
- finding out the key points of a client's problem
- finding out what a client's 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 who has lost their job to determine if the correct procedures have been followed or not
You don’t need any specific qualifications or experience to train for the role. You would need:
- an ability to understand information
- a good level of literacy and numeracy
- to be polite and good at listening
- to be familiar with using keyboard skills and searching the internet
- to be able to input data accurately
- to be open minded and not judge clients
- to enjoy helping people.
Our Receptionists are the public face of our local Citizens Advice, managing ‘front-of-house’ based on the information given by the staffing team. Depending on the size and resources of the office, the receptionist role may be carried out by more than one person. We are especially looking for more receptionists to aid at the Curlew Centre at Sutton Bridge.
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, including booking appointments
You don't need any specific qualifications and experience but you would need to:
- be polite when talking to people
- have basic computing skills
- have an understanding of, and commitment to, confidentiality
- be friendly and approachable.
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 people who have never used their local Citizens Advice before. We are also looking for volunteers to lead on Equality & Diversity.
As a campaigner you'll:
- fill out and gather evidence forms which explain the details 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.
PR and marketing
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 our local website and newsletter
- arrange events, displays and talks to promote the local Citizens Advice
- identify opportunities for your local Citizen's Advice to get involved in our annual Advice Week or other national events such as Volunteers Week.
CASL runs volunteer recruitment campaigns throughout the year to help us expand our services or to replace volunteers who have left. Some of our volunteers have a specific role to run these campaigns, others may be involved with our general PR/marketing work.
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
- run open days for potential volunteers
- ensure our website is updated with new volunteering opportunities
- deal with volunteer enquiries forwarded from this website
Each individual Citizens Advice is an independent charity. We are looking to expand our current volunteer role base by introducing volunteer fundraisers for the very first time.
Main duties and responsibilities may include:
- Identifying possible sources of funding in the community such as:
- local businesses
- charitable trusts.
- Working with the manager to fit funders to projects being developed in CASL.
- Developing a relationship with local funders so that they are aware of CASL activities.
- Developing and maintaining a database of supporters.
- Completing draft funding applications for the management team.
- Drafting publicity materials for fundraising campaigns.
- Organising fundraising events.
We do have several other roles alongside the above core roles. Please contact the training team for further information.
All Citizens Advice are independent charities, governed by their own board of trustees, who are ultimately responsible for the quality and range of the service. Day-to-day control is delegated to the local centre managers, but trustees:
- Set the overall direction and support the development of the offices;
- Ensure CASL meets the needs of the local community and the Citizens Advice membership standards;
- Employ staff and control finances;
- Earn and retain the respect of important and influential people and organisations in the community, including funding bodies;
- Ensure the office complies with relevant laws.
Trustee boards need people from all sections of the community with a wide range of different skills, experience and perspectives.
Trustee boards tend to meet in the evenings, making this a flexible role, which trustees often fit around a full-time job. A full induction into the trustee board's role and responsibilities will be provided.