People Management Resources

Human resources, equal ops

Our sample documents

Equal Opportunity issues

Most of these don’t just apply to staffing matters, but it is often where you come across them first.

  • Equality and Human Rights Commission.
  • Race On The Agenda (ROTA) is a policy development information and research service for the Black voluntary sector in London.
  • Equality Commission for Northern Ireland Took over the functions of Commission for Racial Equality for Northern Ireland, the Equal Opportunities Commission for Northern Ireland, the Fair Employment Commission and the Northern Ireland Disability Council.
  • The government’s Disability pages.
  • Business Disability Forum is funded and managed by member organisations, to “make it easier to recruit and retain disabled employees and to serve disabled customers”.
  • Harassment Law UK This web site has been designed to provide practical information and relevant web links for anyone who is the victim of harassment or who has been wrongly accused of harassment, whether it is racial or sexual harassment, or bullying at work.

Websites and Facilities

Also see: Further pointers on recruitment on our Managing People page.

  • ACEVO, the chief executives body, has set up an Employee Assistance Programme service, working with Worklife Support. This provides employee (and their families) access to such things a counselling, advice services (legal, debt etc.), career and job support, management consultation and coaching.
  • Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development for professional personnel practitioners. Info on the site for non-members is restricted, but worth checking, especially their factsheets (in Knowledge section). You can also book their short courses online, but they aren’t cheap. Organisational membership could be a good way of getting access to personnel information on a regular basis. CIPD House, Camp Road, London, SW19 4UX, phone 020 8971 9000, email:
  • Croner have various materials available online but less freely available material than there used to be.
  • Fenman (Trainer Active) has a wide range of relevant training resources.
  • GetFeedback provides an online HR questionnaire facility – for appraisals, team development etc.
  • HRZone
  • Institute of Employment Rights bills itself as ‘a think tank for the labour movement’, ‘acting as a focal point for the spread of new ideas on the field of labour law’.
  • Investors in People There is a perception that signing up for IiP is only for the larger organisation, as it involves a fair bit of paper work. It is about improving peoples performance, flexibility and motivation, particularly in times of change. At Jan 01, there are some 366 charitable organisations with the standard, which has 4 key principles: commitment to develop employees to achieve business goals and targets, planning to review training and development needs required in context of the business, action assuring relevant step are taken to meet the needs, evaluation measuring the outcomes of training and development for individuals and the organisation.
  • Check your local council for voluntary service/voluntary action for any personnel and employment advice services offered. More likely for larger outfits.
  • SCVO in Scotland and the other national umbrella bodies have people management sections on their websites.
  • Trades Union Congress – TUC Their site has information on employment rights, health and safety etc. as well as the organising/joining trades union information you would expect.

Briefings, checklists, facts

NCVO will send you model standard and fixed term employment contracts if you send an sae to the Helpdesk, NCVO, Regent’s Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL (phone 0800 2798 798).

Chancellor Formecon is one of a number of commercial organisations providing a variety of Personnel Management forms, posters, manuals etc. Minimum quantities can be a pain, but quality is fairly reliable.

CIPD research (Feb 00) found an average absence rate in the voluntary sector of 1 in 20 working days (5%), compared with 1 in 30 elsewhere. 37 per cent of absences were down to ‘Monday morning blues’. (Quoted in ThirdSector, 22/3/01)

Voluntary Sector Workforce Development Plan, published Voluntary Sector National Training Organisation, Feb 01, (see Training Resources) includes a round-up of useful statistics for the sector in England/Wales/Scotland (most from Skills Matter report):

20% of staff are managers and administrators, 18% in clerical occupations.

25% are educated to degree level, compared with 23% in public sector, 10% in commercial.

A third of organisations with paid staff reported difficulties filling posts, particularly managerial.

Skills gaps identified: 44% had some amongst current employees; 50% lacked understanding of effective IT use; 40% planning and forward thinking skills missing; 38% basic IT skills; 48% fundraising.

Limited recruitment pool in rural areas.

Managing People


It is intended that most of this can be applied to volunteers as well as paid staff and covers management concepts relating to people issues. Please note, though, that you really need to do some serious reading, course work or gain experience ‘on the job’ if you want to develop people management skills properly.

Also see People Management Resources page.

Team building

Belbin is the name often bandied about here. He has developed the concept of Team Roles, with everybody having their own preferred role(s). You need a reasonable understanding of the overall idea before you can apply it fully, otherwise you will be reducing people to being pre-programmed robots. He describes 8 roles (below) which a team must fill, plus that of the subject Specialist (expert). Precise terminology can vary, but you can use these headings to consider how your team manages to cover the roles as a ‘simple’ starter.

– Chair (co-ordinator and social leader)
– Shaper (gives drive and impetus)
– Plant/Innovator (ideas person)
– Monitor/evaluator (stopping over enthusiasm, missing key points)
– Resource investigator (delicate external negotiations)
– Organiser/company worker (implementer – turns ideas into practical action)
– Team worker (diffuses friction)
– Completer/Finisher (progress chaser)

Lifecycle of teams A real team (rather than just a group of individuals) will go through 4 identifiable stages:
– Forming. Often initially seemingly a very straightforward, uneventful activity. But sooner or later, any team which is going anywhere much has to address:
– Storming. Getting all the differences out in the open, leading to:
– Norming. Agreeing who is doing what, modes of behaviour etc., leading to:
– Performing
For a project team which performs well, there is likely to be another stage – mourning – when it comes to an end.

What is perhaps worst to realise is that in a typical small to medium you will not get much choice in team membership, and each time a member changes (leaves, gets promoted or has job re-defined) the team lifecycle is likely to get knocked back a stage (or thereabouts).

These concepts help you appreciate the problems, but don’t lose sight of the power of good teams or the fact that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Just remember some attention to how the team operates is as important as being clear on what its real tasks are.


Herzberg splits motivation into 2 key areas:

1. Hygiene factors. These don’t motivate, but inadequate fulfilment here could be de-motivating. Includes working conditions, working relations, pay, technical supervision, company policy. Good hygiene can help prevent illness, but doesn’t improve your health!

2. Satisfiers/motivators. Achievement, responsibility, recognition, advancement, work itself.

Appraisal and Supervision

Appraisal ideally contributes to both organisational and personal learning, plus achieving the organisation’s objectives.

It works best if there are regular supervision sessions during the year, picking up and dealing with minor issues on both sides, and establishing a level of understanding between the superviser and supervisee. How and when supervision happens will vary immensely between and within different organisations – for instance residential care staff working with ‘challenging’ clients will need greater support and guidance than office staff dealing with more predictable duties.

Our sample Appraisal Form/Checklist rather assumes that positive relationships and attitudes are the norm. Questions on ‘why things didn’t work out’ will need to be expressed more diplomatically if this is not generally the case in your organisation, otherwise there is a tendency to get into apportioning blame rather than being focused on ways forward.

Most small to medium size voluntary organisations will want to keep things simple, but it is possible to have very sophisticated performance assessment models developed, which at least in theory take away some of the subjective value judgements which tend to creep in.

If a lot of work is done in teams, has this been taken into account when appraising an individual? How well have they contributed to the team’s goals, is it actually impossible with current management style to tell?

Job design, Person Spec

Job descriptions and recruitment

Before recruiting to a post, you need to (re-)design the job! A checklist :

  • what, why, when, where, how is it done?
  • what are the responsibilities (people, budgets, resources)
  • define working relationships
  • requirements for the job – skills, education, motivation, level of performance expected
  • describe conditions of work
  • check whether this all stacks up (with current job-holder, line manager)

Then draw up the job description. You should be able to draw out most of the person specification too – what are the essential or desirable skills, experience, attitudes, knowledge? How will you recognise and judge these – application form (or CV), interview, written or practical test? There is a Person Specification in our collection of sample documents, but please note that this is NOT a model, but a guide for your thoughts.

Note: it is very common for recruitment to be done looking backwards, at addressing what was missing/went wrong with a previous post occupant. Try looking forwards, at current and future needs, instead.

Sample job descriptions may be found on some websites of sector support bodies, such as CharityComms for communications roles (e.g. Head of Digital Communications article, published 2012).

Institute of Fundraising published ‘Managing Fundraisers: The essential guide to recruiting, developing & retaining fundraising talent’ in 2012 – no longer online at Oct. 2018?

Providing Training

Organising and putting on your own training course is an attractive proposition for many voluntary organisations, given that they may be dealing with an unusual combination of staff, activities or clients, and not be able to afford expensive commercial trainer/consultants. Our advice would be to check out what standard and tailored training can be provided by those specialising in the voluntary sector first – see Training page. There are many pitfalls which could turn an in-house production into a negative rather than positive force for change. Here are a few ‘train the trainer’ tips – see also our Training Resources page.

Development / Training Needs Assessment

Can be part of Appraisal process. The idea is to identify what training is needed to do the job well, and works best if the job is well-defined with specific requirements (skills etc.). This will not always be possible, as many voluntary sector jobs are very fluid, particularly in smaller organisations.

Training Needs Assessment Before signing up for courses, an assessment of what the job involves (purpose, responsibility, key activities – should have some match to job description!), what skills and knowledge this requires (essential v. desirable), assess the gap between this and the existing position.

Training Objectives

  • What are the intended learning outcome(s) of the training sessions?
  • What will the participant be able to DO as a result of the sessions?
  • What observable activity will show what ability has been gained by the trainee as a result?Additional Key questions: How have you identified this training need? Why do you think the training would be be carried out in this way?

Another issue is trying to align the potentially conflicting wishes/abilities of an individual with the demands/possibilities of the current job and also the future needs and prospects of the organisation (which may be emerging out of the mists). Perfection here is impossible – as in much of working life where people are involved (ie most of the time) a good enough or reasonableness test has to be applied.

Have you considered …….

  • on the job coaching?
  • mentoring?
  • exchange visit, placement?
  • reading?
  • talking to experts?
  • a safe environment to practice?
  • how any course learning will be re-inforced or be negated back at work, will there be a chance to consolidate the learning or is it just an isolated (wasted) exercise?
  • is training actually going to solve anything? Is it actually a mis-match between person, task and organisation, poor job design, a structural problem?
  • that volunteers may have different needs – fit the job to the person rather than otherwise? Do they really want to get training from you so they can do paid work elsewhere (this may be a fair exchange in the right circumstances)?


Tell me, and I forgot
Show me, and I remember
Involve me, and I understand

We remember: 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, 50% of what we see and hear together, 80% of what we say, 90% of what we say while we do it.

“PowerPoint is about presentation (showing) not involvement. It is suitable for conferences but has no place in the training room.” A slightly extreme view, perhaps, but remember that technical training aids can actually divert attention AWAY from the training material if used improperly.

(Credits for this section: OUBS B789, Peter Firkin/Continuing to Learn, Henry Stewart/Happy Computers)

Learning Styles/Organisation

Kolb and Fry learning cycle

Learning and development, according to Kolb and Fry, follows the cycle illustrated here. The names outside the boxes are the descriptors (Learning Styles) for people who have a particular preference for that part of the cycle (Honey and Mumford). There are Questionnaires around designed to evaluate what your preferred Learning Style is. This is helpful to trade on strengths and minimize weaknesses, as you are likely to learn most from your part of the cycle. But there are dangers of missing out stages.

learning cycle

Characteristics of adult learning process

– Bring (their own) package of experience and values to the learning process – start from where they are.
– Usually come with set intentions – wanting to solve a particular type of problem they have encountered or anticipate
– Bring certain expectations about how the learning process works (and their capabilities).
– There are competing interests – social, work, etc
– Have preferred learning styles (see above)
– Adults by definition – treat them as such
– Engaged in continuing process of growth. It may not seem like it, but adults dont stop growing and developing, but the pace and direction varies.

Training is usually done in short bursts, with clear aims. See Training Needs above.

What is a learning organisation?

Characteristics of a learning organisation (derived from Argyris): open, exploratory, enquiring, mistakes are puzzles to be analysed.

Some barriers to being a learning organisation (from Salaman and Butler):
– formal learning doesn’t fit with informal (what actually happens day-to-day, what gets praised or recognised)
– departments, specialists, experts defend their corners, don’t accept others comments, ideas
– a political approach to controlling information, defensive
– strong group loyalties and pressures to conform/come to a consensus.

Investors in People

This is the national standard developed by a wide partnership of interests. It ‘sets a level of good practice for training and development of people to achieve business goals’. It is based on 4 key principles of Commitment (to invest in people), Planning (team, individual and skill development), Action, Evaluating outcomes.

See Investors in People UK website for more info, and our People Management Resources page  – the IiP standard was re-launched April 2000. Croners, amongst others, have produced materials (printed and online) to support this.

Staff Payment Practicalities

Salary Scales and Comparisons

Many voluntary organisations use scales linked to local authority, civil service or specific groups like academic or nursing grades. The main problems are equating rather different jobs to particular points or grades on the scales and getting hold of the complete pay rate information on a reliable basis. Many of the scales are published and subscription services may be available – alternatively your organisation may have to become a member of the negotiating body (rates for small organisations aren’t always prohibitive).

NJC (local authority) scales can be found at

There are also some sector salary surveys:

  1. ACEVO publishes regular surveys of Chief Executive pay, which is available to members – see support bodies page.
  2. Croner Solutions does regular (annual) surveys in many sectors, including charities (in association with CF Appointments). 2003 results are based on data from 270 charities of all shapes and sizes, covering 7,800 different jobs. Reliable, but not easy to get to grips with. Charity survey costs (at 2003) £305. Phone 01785 813566, email:
  3. NCVO carries out an annual sector salary survey through Xpert HR Solutions (previously Remuneration Economics). Results published in September, and participating organisations get a discount (e.g. small organisations got the 2002 version for £65 as opposed to £290). Some professional consultants have been puzzled by past findings which are roughly 40% lower than their experience and other surveys say.

Other sources of salary comparators are organisations similar to yourselves (although they could be cagey if there is competition for staff!) or for admin work try temp agencies and other commercial firms who have similar jobs to yours.

Pension Issues

Update March 2012: Stakeholder pensions are now old hat, and new requirements for occupational pensions have a staged introduction (based on number of employees) from October 2012. The following needs amendment.

Employers should check the government’s pensions info page for more – also see employee pension page.

Both the HM Revenue and Customs site and that from The Pensions Regulator (was Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority) are generally clear and helpful.

See Pension Provider page for pension schemes of particular interest to the voluntary sector.

For employees, PensionSorter is worth checking. Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) is a grant aided voluntary organisation giving free help and advice to members of the public who have a problem concerning either a company or personal pension scheme. TPAS will also assist with general enquiries on State Pension Schemes; helpline for employees on 0845 601 2923.

Also check ethical investment issues at UKSIF (or see the VolResource Ethical Investment page).

Sector Trends

Levels of staff turnover are something managers and management committees worry about. In some areas, high turnover can be a good thing, as moving between organisations is the only way to gain breadth and depth of experience, with long service being an indication of low self-esteem or drive. (We have come across this in many small community-based groups.)

Surveys etc

(Material to be updated.)


Payment of expenses can be more of an issue than salaries. The tax implications are often not understood, by employee or employer. See PAYE section below.

Car Mileage rates: HM Revenue and Customs sets out rates which they regard as not being taxable. Compare these with the NJC scale rates (see Payscales above. And don’t forget that there is a bicycle tax free mileage rate (of 20p in 2002), and cycles and cycle safety equipment made available to employees for commuting don’t attract tax charges.

Subsistence allowances. Again NJC publishes some rates (we haven’t checked if they are on the usual websites). Voluntary organisations may prefer to reimburse actual costs, within limits.

Other issues. There are many oddities, but some we have come across include:
– phone calls from home/own mobile. Do you recognise a rental element? If so, you will probably have to declare this with the year-end tax return.
– do staff incurring regular expenses (site visits?) need a float? Make sure record keeping is adequate on both sides. If you are going to pay expenses out of petty cash, can you ‘trap’ any problematic ones or compile adequate info. for Inland Revenue purposes? If you are going to pay by cheque, can you turn these around quickly enough so that staff don’t suffer and/or complain?

Income Tax, Payroll issues (PAYE/NIC etc.)

Once you know what you are looking for, get more details from the HM Revenue and Customs web site.

Voluntary groups are viewed in exactly the same way as any other employer. The only thing you need to make sure any adviser checks is the Small Employer criteria for Statutory Maternity Pay and Statutory Sick Pay, which means you can reduce NI contributions if you qualify. The Contributions Agency, which deals with National Insurance, became part of the Inland Revenue in 1999 (and is now called the National Insurance Contributions Office), so start at the web site given above.

The Employers Helpline is on 0345 143 143 for general tax and NIC enquiries. The Inland Revenue are now publishing their main guides and forms on CD-ROM annually, but seemingly only available at the start of the tax year. Get this through the Employers Orderline on 0845 7646 646 (you need your employers reference for this).

Specific Issues

It is worth trying to be extra rigorous in recording employee expenses – it is rare that voluntary orgs pay more than actual costs, but inspectors often want proof. Check out if you need a ‘dispensation’ so you don’t have to report all these details on the annual return, and also check that car mileage rates are within their scales. Download the current version of the HMRC booklet on Expenses and Benefits (480) but expect it to be around 100 pages.

Calling senior staff or your management committee/trustees ‘Directors’ can also lead to confusion, as there are special rules about people who are actually company directors.

Payroll Resources

Many local sector support organisations (CVS), community accountancy projects, DSC and some other sector trainers provide basic training on operating the payroll – check training provider page for contacts.

The available commercial payroll support bodies have changed since this page was compiled, but there are probably some still out there.

Professional Development and Structured Learning

Accredited courses, particularly in specific subjects (e.g. community, enterprise)


Professional training for the sector is on the increase – at one time there were concerns from short course (open access) providers that their business would go down the pan as people focused on gaining qualifications and credits for ‘continuous professional development’ (CPD). There is room for both. While short courses are often seeing as having more immediate relevance to day-to-day work, part-time and distance/flexible learning (such as Open University) can also have direct, practical impact on your current job.

It would be a little foolish of us to give general guidance on how to decide what is most appropriate for you, as there are so many factors, courses and a lot of change too. Managing the time commitments, how much you can afford, whether your organisation has a training policy restricted on what it recognises for promotion, funding etc, are obvious questions. Bear in mind that some have entry requirements – postgraduate courses MAY take mature students with relevant experience rather than a degree but could require a lot of persuading; others will be aimed at those in particular stages of their career or from certain parts of the sector (possibly due to how their funding works). Above all be clear why you want to study, and what you hope to achieve. This may change as you go along, but it gives you a base to judge courses and your progress.

Accreditation and Qualifications

Accreditation can be by a number of different bodies, at different levels. At the moment we don’t cover CPD rated courses but short courses may count to ongoing development requirements for membership of professional bodies (e.g. accountancy, CIPD, law).

Institute of Fundraising has developed the Certificate for Fundraising Managers which can be obtained via a number of providers (some indicated on the training pages). It is worth checking out the other Professional bodies to see if they run, recommend or list development programmes.

Foundation degrees are relatively new – vocationally focused higher education courses at ‘intermediate’ level, the same as HND/C and NVQ level 4. Unionlearn has relevant info.

Also see Professional Qualifications page for degree courses, diplomas etc. in more general voluntary sector subjects (e.g. management).

Finding Courses

The National Open College Network site gives quality standards and local OCN contacts who may offer qualifications in community development, volunteering training, management.

Accredited courses, NVQ etc

Gloscat (Gloucestershire College of Arts & Technology) had qualifications and/or training through various routes for local voluntary sector. Haven’t located in new Gloucestershire College site but probably still there.

Money Advice Scotland is an (SQA) Approved Centre for the delivery of the Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Advice (money advice route) at levels 3 and 4.

Truro and Penwith College, Penzance. Charity Administration evening course.

No exam and/or formal qualification

Note: Some courses created with qualifications in mind do allow study excluding examination/assessment.

No current info at Nov 2013.

Professional Development in specific issues

Roughly grouped by issue. Not just NVQs.

See Volunteer Management, Trustee Resources for training in those areas.


  • Masters in Citizenship and Human Rights at Glasgow Caledonian University, created in partnership with Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (new August 2014?).


Housing, Regeneration

  • Urban Studies at University of Glasgow has various Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development courses in Housing, Regeneration.

Humanitarian, Development


Fundraising, charity marketing

Philanthropy courses: see Philanthropy education in the UK and continental Europe: Current provision, perceptions and opportunities (pdf, 694KB) from Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Oct. 2014. Also check Centre for Philanthropy at University of Kent.

Professional Qualifications

Higher level courses in voluntary sector management and related subjects.


Voluntary Sector Studies Network has a Courses section giving some details of those provided by its members. This may be updated quicker than our information below.

This page is for more general voluntary sector higher level courses in management, communications etc. See Professional Development page for specific topics (e.g. Community, Enterprise, Fundraising), and a section on Volunteer management courses.

Foundation degrees

Foundation degrees are employment related higher education qualifications. As experience can be as important as traditional educational qualifications, usually there are no, or flexible, set entry requirements. While not on the same level as honours degrees, they can lead on to these. See Professional Development page for such courses in specific topics.

Study online, open/distance learning

  • Open University Business School Runs a Management Certificate programme tailored to the voluntary sector, which can become part of Diploma or MBA. Various courses can be done online. Winning Resources and Support meets criteria for Institute of Fundraising’s Certificate. VolResource was (maybe still is) one of their Top 10 reference sites. Course Enquiry Services, Freepost, PO Box 625, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, phone 01908 858585.
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Enhancement (Online) awarded through the University of Bradford, and meets criteria for full corporate membership of the Institute of Leadership and Management. Modules on supervision, managing change and others. Contact Norman Borrett, phone 01274 753425, email:
  • University of Wales Lampeter MA in Voluntary Sector Studies is dormant at spring 2015.
  • Masters in Public Policy and Management or postgrad diploma/certificate from University of York.
  • Others. Some of those listed by location below now also provide open, distance or e-learning options which don’t require regular physical attendance. It is worth checking websites for updates.

Educational institute based

Listed by location.

  • University of Birmingham College of Social Sciences Public Service MPA, with specific voluntary sector management option (may have changed at autumn 09). Full or part-time options, and MSc/postgrad certificate programmes too. MBA Programme Administrator, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, phone 0121 414 5006, email:
  • Newman College of Higher Education (Birmingham) Public and Voluntary Sector Management BA; also Foundation Degree in Voluntary & Community Organisation Development, 4 year part time course.
  • Bradford College Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma/MA in Managing Change in the Community. Phone 01274 433004.
  • University of Bristol School for Policy Studies. “The MSc in Management Development and Social Responsibility fully integrates concern with social values in its content and learning processes, and is intended to equip students with the knowledge, skills and awareness necessary for them to operate as reflective, competent and socially informed managers in a changing environment.” 2 year, part-time. Phone 0117 954 6755, email:
  • Cambridge MBAJudge Business School Have a Bursary Scheme for “UK professionals in the not for profit sectors”. Phone 01223 337051, email:
  • Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School (City University, London). Part-time postgraduate MSc or Diploma in Voluntary Sector Management; PgDip/ MSc Charity Accounting & Financial Management. Also from the Business School is the ICAEW Diploma in Charity Accounting. Occasional short courses. Contact Cass Business School, 106 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8TZ, phone 020 7040 8667.
  • University of Chichester BA in Charity Development is purely about fundraising.
  • University of Derby Foundation Degree in Voluntary Sector Management, 2 year full time course. Email:
  • Edge Hill University, in Ormskirk, Lancs, has (at 2014) a third sector pathway for its MSc Leadership and Management Development – look under Modules.
  • Leeds Beckett University (was Leeds Metropolitan).  Used to have part-time Professional Diploma, Managing in the Community and BA in Managing in Health & Social Care Organisations. No longer?
  • Charity Law and Policy Unit, Liverpool Law School, University of Liverpool. Postgraduate research opportunities. They also run regular seminars on various issues.
  • Birkbeck College, University of London courses includes Voluntary and Community Sector Studies MSc / Diploma / Certificate – search from the course index page. Completion offers pathways to research study at MPhil/PhD level.

  • Norwich City College Edexcel/BTEC Professional Development Certificate in Voluntary Sector Management, 1 day a week for 30 weeks.
  • University of Nottingham Business School Public Services MBA Programme – Voluntary Sector. Not sure that this exists still as a specific option – there is a Public Services Policy module to the MBA.
  • Robert Gordon University Part-time postgraduate Certificate/Diploma or MSc courses on Scottish Public Sector Management – not sure how much voluntary sector content. Course Leader is Kirsteen Davidson at the School of Public Administration and Law, phone 01224 263400.
  • Roehampton University, Centre for the Study of Voluntary and Community Activity link not valid at Dec. 2013, and Voluntary Action Management, MSc/Postgraduate Diploma no longer offered?
  • Voluntary Action Research Group, Sheffield Hallam University. Various charity management courses discontinued at autumn 2017? Worth checking.
  • University of Southampton may have something on the lines of Postgrad Certificate in the Management of Voluntary Organisations – try a search under social work.
  • St Mary’s University, Twickenham MA, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate in Charity Management.
  • National College of Ireland, Dublin, School of Business and Humanities. Certificate in Managing Organisations in the Voluntary and Community Sector, one year evening course.

Training Course Suppliers


There are a number of specialist training organisations (as well as individual trainers) working in the sector. One of the advantages of using these is that their courses are often very valuable ways of making contact with others, with similar interests and problems. The trainers may also offer participants the chance to contact them on real life ‘on the job’ issues after the course – why not ask!

Those listed below are generally providing ‘stand alone’ training, without a vested interest in selling you something else alongside. We have separated out those which are also interested in providing consultancy or do training as a spin-off.

Also check locally – many CVS, Community Accountancy Projects and some local councils provide basic training for community organisations and others. See Local Contacts, and not just those where we have mentioned course availability.

Also see: Training Resources page for help on putting on your own courses.

Short courses – key players

  • Directory of Social Change A comprehensive range of training courses covering most issues that are on VolResource, and also fundraising. Most courses are held in London.
    London: 352 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA
    Liverpool: Federation House, Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BW. Phone 0151 708 0117, email:
  • The Management Centre Provides a wide range of management and fundraising training, in-house courses and consultancy for the not-for-profit sector. Blue Jay Works, 117 Gauden Road, London, SW4 6LE, phone 020 7978 1516, email:
  • NCVO Conferences, seminars etc. Regent’s Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL. Phone 020 7713 6161.
  • Northern Ireland CVA Phone 028 9087 7777, email:
  • Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations A good selection of short courses, plus other training services. The Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB, phone 0131 556 3882, email:
  • The Centre for Strategy and Communication “We help public sector and non profit organisations transform the way they communicate”. Courses in Media and Communication, Leadership and Management, Administration. 140 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BJ, phone 020 7490 3030, email:
  • Wales Council for Voluntary Action Phone 029 2043 1721 (Wendy Gilbert), email:


Many regional and local voluntary sector infrastructure bodies such as CVS run sector-specific training courses – see Local Contacts. The quality can vary greatly, especially if delivered by their own staff.

Other Suppliers

Note: those with clear and relevant web sites are more likely to get a listing here!

  • AM Training has a volunteer management speciality.
  • BHT Training A spin-off from a Sussex homelessness charity, offering a range of courses for similar/local organisations – from front-line issues to management and IT.
  • CharitySkills Legal and governance training.
  • Clinks Courses for voluntary organisations that work with offenders and their families.
  • Clore Leadership Trust aims to train and develop leaders for the cultural and charity sector.
  • Communique Bid writing, fundraising, presentation skills, public speaking, management and personal development courses specifically for the voluntary sector, plus short courses in central Birmingham. Phone 01384 895633, email:
  • deafPLUS ‘Deaf Awareness’, ‘Total Communication’ and ‘Sign Language and Communication Skills’ course for those working with the public. Also fully accessible training to deaf people on a variety of topics including ‘NEBS Management Training’. See web site for regional office contacts.
  • Empower, based in Abercynon, South Wales, is a training and support provider for the voluntary, community and public sector and can operate across the country.
  • Fircroft College Short residential courses (leadership and management and others) at Fircroft College of Adult Education, set in six acres of attractive gardens and grounds in Selly Oak, Birmingham.
  • The Glass House offers design courses, advice and support to tenants, residents and professionals working in neighbourhoods undergoing change and renewal. Courses held at Trafford Hall, Chester.
  • Helplines Partnership Programme of courses across the UK and Ireland for helpline volunteers, staff and managers.
  • Homeless Link provides training in key frontline skills to those working directly with homeless people, and also from its Supported Housing Alliance programme. Short courses at venues in London, Manchester and Leeds, as well as tailored in-house training.
  • Housing Rights Service Northern Ireland.
  • Institute of Fundraising ‘Developed by Fundraisers for Fundraisers’. Market Towers, 1 Nine Elms Lane, London, SW8, phone 020 7978 2768.
  • LEAP Confronting Conflict“addresses issues of conflict, violence and mediation in the lives of young people and those who work with them”. Some training course titles: Setting Up a Peer Training Programme, Young Men and Anger, Facilitating Confronting Conflict Work. London.
  • Legal Services Agency Seminars on homelessness and the law, education law etc. Based in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • Relate Northern Ireland Short and fully accredited courses include relationship education; counselling skills; personal and emotional development; pre-marriage; pre-retirement; coping with transitions etc. Relate N.I, 76 Dublin Road, Belfast, BT2 7HP, phone 028 9023454, email:
  • Seeds for Change providing free training on all aspects of campaigning work for grassroots groups involved in Environmental and Social Justice issues.
  • Shelter Training Inhouse or public programmes (central London, Manchester and York). Course topic include: Housing Aid and Advice; Housing Law and Rights to Housing; Homelessness; Arrears, Benefits and Welfare Rights; Court Proceedings; Working with Clients; Communication and Inter-personal Skills; Management and Supervision. From £85 per day, phone 020 7490 6720.
  • Sitra Over 300 courses to support the professional development of individuals and teams working in the housing support and care sector.
  • The Social Value UK (was SROI Network) is an international organisation which supports, promotes and trains people in Social Return on Investment methodology. This can help your organisation with assessing impact, targeting resources and increasing your social value.
  • Women’s Resource Centre run a range of useful courses (e.g. Introduction to Business Planning) at reasonable cost for women’s groups in London.
  • NCVO’s Working For A Charity online course for those wanting to enter the sector.

Courses and Consultancy

  • Chapel and York Seminars on US fundraising opportunities.
  • Charity Consultants Ltd ‘Prospecting for Gold, Fundraising Training Courses’ General and ‘sector specific’ courses at Basic and Intermediary levels, mainly held in London, WC1. Little Holme, Station Road, Shiplake, Henley on Thames, Oxon, RG9 3JS. Phone 0118 940 1016, email:
  • Charities Evaluation Services ‘Training in approaches to monitoring, self-evaluation and quality assurance.’ Prices are very reasonable for small organisations. 4 Coldbath Square, London, EC1R 5HL. Phone 020 7713 5722, email:
  • Company Solutions runs over a 100 fundraising courses a year.

Other Consultancy Services providers will often provide training, so see that page too.

Other sources of trainers

Management Development Network A source of independent management trainers and consultants working in the sector. Directory costs £15, but much of the info is also on the web site. Phone 020 7232 0726.

Also see under Finding Courses on Professional Development page.

Online Courses

As this has become more established, some training providers listed above may also provide online options.

See Professional Qualifications if you are looking for more in-depth online or distance training.  IT trainers are under Computer Services.

Specific sector interest


  • ALISON, developed in Ireland, has a mission “to enable anyone, anywhere to education themselves for free”. Can arrange certification too.
  • FutureLearn A ‘MOOC’ (massive open online course) provider with a wide range of courses from a range of universities, developed by the Open University. Topics of interest have included community/hyper-local media, various business skills.
  • ICS has a range of business, childcare and other courses for home study.
  • LearnDirect The government supported initiative. Some online courses seem to require enrolment at an offline study centre! Includes a Managing Volunteers course.
  • Learning Pool.
  • Virtual Training Suite A set of online tutorials designed to help students, lecturers and researchers improve their Internet information skills. Topics include Social Work.

Directories and resources

  • ItrainOnline is a joint initiative of six organisations with expertise in computer and Internet training in developing countries. Multimedia section includes community radio.
  • TrainingZone (see Training Resources) runs regular workshops online, and reports back on them.

US and Canada