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10 skills you could bring to a volunteering role

This week is Volunteers' Week. Whatever your particular talent, there's a volunteer role for you.

Staithes and Runswick lifeboat crew outside the lifeboat station

Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

The RNLI depends on volunteers to save lives at sea. Our 4,600 volunteer crew members are well known around the coasts of the UK and Ireland, but there are dozens of other volunteer roles that help keep the lifeboats in the water.

Here are some examples of these roles – some are available now, some serve as a taster of the kinds of unusual roles that can come up.

1) Team player? Be a Fundraising Team Member

Local fundraising teams, fuelled by the boundless energy of their volunteers, are at the hearts of communities around the UK and Ireland. They organise regular events, from cake sales to concerts, sponsored welly walks to good old-fashioned street collections.

One in 10 people in the UK say they are often lonely, according to the Mental Health Foundation. An RNLI fundraising branch is a ready-made group of friends with a packed calendar of fun events and a noble purpose. Warrington is our Branch of the Year – watch their story above. Apply here.

2) Natural leader? Be a Tour Guide

The RNLI has so many stories to tell. Bring these stories to life at RNLI College and museums around the UK as a volunteer Tour Guide.

3) Great with kids? Be an Education Presenter

The best way to stop children drowning is to arm them with the knowledge they need to stop them getting into trouble in the first place. We always need volunteer Education Presenters to go into schools and youth groups to give fun water safety presentations. Training, support and resources are provided. Apply here.

4) Appetite for destruction? Be a Lifejacket Decommissioner

Last year, the RNLI brought out new lifejackets for all crew around the UK and Ireland. We asked volunteers to help us break down thousands of old lifejackets for recycling.

5) Gift of the gab? Be a Heritage Education Volunteer

Could you talk for England (Ireland/Scotland/Wales/delete as appropriate)? Then we need you for this new role, sharing the RNLI's tales of historic bravery with young people (14–18 years old).

6) Class clown? Be Stormy Stan

Stormy Stan the lifeboat man is the RNLI mascot. His adventures in Storm Force magazine have entertained and inspired generations of children. He is very much in demand at RNLI events, but can't attend them all. So we have a sneaky solution. We've made a Stormy Stan costume for a fun-loving volunteer to don at selected events. If you're great with kids, a born performer and tickled by the thought of having enormous hands for a day, your local branch might need you. Apply here.

7) Party planner extraordinaire? Be an Events Coordinator

Do you believe that the best party is one that's carefully planned, with due attention paid to all the details? Well, spreadsheets at the ready, because this is the role for you. Volunteer Events Coordinators have helped organise dozens of events for the RNLI, bringing in thousands and making sure all participants have a great day. It's a rewarding role and a great addition to any CV – and we're recruiting now.

8) Natural curiosity? Be a Volunteer Researcher

As a charity, the RNLI has a duty to spend donors' money wisely. We therefore carry out careful research before making big decisions. Periodically, we ask volunteers to help. Examples past and present include projects on collection box placement, canoe and kayak use, and volunteer recruitment. If you're interested in how things work, in why people behave the way they do, and in doing things right, based on research and not guesswork, keep an eye on our volunteer listings.

9) Drama queen/wannabe spy? Be a Mystery Shopper

Last year, more than 100 volunteers acted as mystery shoppers on RNLI lifeguarded beaches. Disguised as regular beach visitors, in flip-flops and shades, they checked up on our lifeguards and reported back to the RNLI. Their acting talents were challenged by having to ask questions of the lifeguards on duty. We were pleased that the majority of the shoppers sent back great reports.

We may have more mystery shopping opportunities coming soon. Keep an eye on our volunteer recruitment listings – the crow flies at midnight.

10) Legal eagle? Be a Legal Advisor

Property, employment, fundraising, risk management … as a large organisation in a dangerous business, the RNLI has many legal aspects to keep on top of. We occasionally bring in qualified volunteer legal advisors to help us make sure everything is done properly. It's a great way for lawyers to give something back to the community, and saves our charity a lot of money.

These are just 10 examples of how volunteers have helped the RNLI. See for a list of positions now available.

Not for you? If any of the above descriptions sound like someone you know, be sure to spread the word.