Module 4: Managing your volunteering

Managing your time - and deciding when to step back - is really important when you're volunteering. This module has all the advice you need.

Welcome to Module 4

Hear from Parkinson's UK volunteer Frank with an introduction to Module 4.

    What you'll learn

    Time is precious and we are hugely grateful that you are volunteering some of yours to support people living with Parkinson's. We also know that managing your volunteering with everything else in your life can be challenging.

    Existing volunteers told us that this induction needs to include tasks around managing your time and when doing less volunteering might be appropriate. They said this would help them take a step back if they need to.

    Do talk to your staff contact about which tasks to complete in this module.

    At the end of this module, you can expect to be able to:

    • understand some of the ways volunteers manage their time
    • explain some of the reasons why it might be appropriate for someone to step back from their volunteer role

    Task 1: Managing your time

    Some volunteering activities are easy to organise, while others are more involved. But even simple volunteering tasks need a little planning.

    You might have experience of planning and developed time management skills from paid work or other areas of your life, which will support you in your volunteering role. Or, perhaps you're looking to get more experience of these things.

    Whatever your skills in this area, it's important that you think about how much time you can give and what planning your volunteering role might need. Then you'll feel more comfortable with your volunteering commitments.

    Take a look at the two situations in these slides and think about how you would plan your time. They're based on real situations using a combination of scenarios.

    Task 2: Saying no

    Sometimes you won't be able to volunteer, even if you have in the past. That might be because you:

    • don't have the time
    • are busy or not available
    • don't have the energy
    • need a change
    • have health considerations

    It doesn't matter why you can't volunteer at these times, and you don't need to explain if you don't want to. It's important that you don't feel bad in any way if you can't or no longer want to volunteer.

    We want you to volunteer for Parkinson's UK for as long as you're able and want to, of course. But it's always OK to say no and be proud of how you've volunteered in the past.

    Read the scenario in these slides to consider how you might approach saying no to taking on volunteering tasks.

    Task 3: Exploring stepping back

    Circumstances change and sometimes you might need to think about taking on less volunteering. As a committed, passionate and enthusiastic volunteer, this can be a tricky decision to make, but you don't want to over-extend yourself and feel burnt out.

    Read the 3 fictional examples in the slides. They're based on the type of difficulties volunteers have encountered in the past.

    Task 4: Identifying when to take a step back

    Many things can happen which make volunteering challenging.

    We don't want to discourage you from volunteering for Parkinson's UK. But it can be a good to identify times when you might have very good reasons for taking a step back from your volunteering.

    Read the examples in the slides, following the instructions given. The fictional examples are based on problems our volunteers have told us about. 

    Module 4: Top tips

    1. Look through our volunteering opportunities to find out about other things you can do for Parkinson's UK. We have volunteering opportunities in local groups, at fundraising events, and through research and media work.
    2. Speak to your staff contact if you would like further help or advice about how to manage your time.
    3. Talk to other volunteers about how they manage their time. Some people make lists, others think about how much time they've got so they can say "no" if they need to.
    4. Share concerns about your volunteering with your staff contact. For example, if you're living with Parkinson's, you could discuss doing less volunteering if your symptoms change.
    5. Consider other ways to support Parkinson's UK. Join our Research Support Network, sign up to our Campaigns Network or make a regular donation to help support people with Parkinson's.