National Association of 
Voluntary Services Managers

Lead, promote and develop best practice in 
Volunteer Management in the NHS and Healthcare

Placement of volunteers


Finding the right volunteer for the right role


At interview, you and the candidate will discuss potential roles and identify one or more that best suits them.


The idea match will be based on what suits their:


  • skills and aptitudes
  • previous experience - either of life in general or through work or other volunteering; this may be especially relevant in some contexts, e.g. mental health, palliative care
  • time availability
  • geography - most relevant where Trusts operate out of a number of geographically diverse site


An individualised visit to a possible placement is of most value where the potential role is of a specialist nature or within a potentially demanding or challenging environment. It is important that all parties are clear that any such visit is made on a 'no obligation' basis.


Volunteering should be a positive, not a negative experience. A volunteer will not stay for long in a role in which they are unhappy, uncomfortable or unsupported . If a volunteer feels that their talents and skills were not appropriately utilised, they may leave with a poor impression of the department and Trust. This could have a negative impact on the reputation of the Trust.


If volunteers leave roles after a very short time, this can damage on-going relationships with staff in potential placement areas as they may feel unsupported by the voluntary service department.


Therefore, it is essential to ensure the volunteer is well matched to the role they will be placed in, have appropriate induction to their role, are followed up to make sure they have settled into the role, are well supported by staff within the ward or department they have been placed, and that they know how to contact the voluntary services department should they have any issues or concerns.