National Volunteers’ Week is a great time to think about whether it’s something you’re interested in doing. Volunteering isn’t for everyone or just might not suit your situation at the moment, and that’s okay. However, if you feel it might be something fun to do, volunteering can be great for our wellbeing. As a previous Macmillan volunteer, I want to bust some myths about what it’s like to volunteer and help you decide what’s right for you.

It’s a common misconception that lots of us think that we don’t have time to volunteer. Many people think of volunteering like having a part-time job, where you might be required to dedicate lots of time each week. However, it’s important to remember that volunteering is not a job. While a charity might ask for you to sign up for a “shift” or to dedicate a certain amount of hours each week, it’s up to you how much time you’d like to donate. You could volunteer just an hour a week, or a one-off afternoon depending on the opportunity. Of course, volunteering is still a commitment and the time it might take is still worth taking into consideration. If you can’t dedicate any time to volunteering, there are still many ways you can help a charity, such as hosting a fundraising event with friends and family or just spreading the word on social media. How much time you can donate and your commitments is something you can discuss with a volunteer manager before starting volunteering, and you should be able to make volunteering fit around you wherever possible.

When people think of volunteering, many people might think of holding a bucket. While fundraising is an important part of volunteering, this type of volunteering isn’t for everyone. There’s actually an incredibly wide variety of ways to volunteer, which means you can find something which interests you. Many organisations, including Macmillan, sometimes offer office-based voluntary opportunities which can be great to consider if you’re considering a career change, or have office skills you think could be helpful. You can also volunteer for a variety of organisations by knitting hats, baking cakes or having cups of tea and offering support to someone in need. Whatever floats your boat!

While it can sometimes be difficult to find opportunities if you have something very specific in mind, if you’re open to trying something new, it can be really easy to find a volunteering role that suits you. Lots of smaller charities in particular are open to suggestions if you have a particular skill you think you can offer, while larger national charities are often constantly recruiting new volunteers. 

If you’re based in the UK, the government has a lot of guidance online around where you can find volunteering placements in your area and important information about volunteering. It’s a great place to start when you’re considering your options.

Macmillan has lots of information and support on volunteering here. You can search by location, or by volunteering type. There are opportunities ranging from longer term volunteering, such as our Telephone Buddies scheme, to helping out with events. Our Supporter Care Hub are available to chat on 0300 1000 200 Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm if you have any questions about volunteering for Macmillan.

I have looked around the community a bit and there are certainly some "Champions" kind and empathetic they are - such unselfishness to spend time in responding to other is often rare these days. This website is excellent and has been an enormous help.” Online Community member

The Community Champions are a dedicated team of volunteers that found the Community to be a great place for support and wanted to give something back to Community members. Our Champions offer support and a listening ear, help new members find their way around the site and help the Community team to keep the site safe for everyone. We’re looking for members who have been active on the site for at least a few months, and have offered lots of kind words and support to other members. 

If this sounds like you or a member you’ve seen on the site, why not let us know at