Online Learning

These free courses will explore everything you need to know about involving, supporting and leading volunteers and you don’t even need to leave your desk!

Working with the Open University (Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership at The Open University Business School) we have created this space for you to learn at your own pace, at a venue of your choice and with time built in for you to reflect. 

All of our online courses are free and we aim to encourage you to think about the; volunteer voice, how these learning topics impact on your current situation and discuss the ideas and concepts within your club, group or organisation.

We hope you enjoy these courses and would welcome any feedback as we are keen to learn and improve our offer.  

Why choose an online course?

  • No need to spend time and money travelling.
  • Short session times mean you don’t need to take too much time out of your day.
  • Our courses are between 14 – 24 learning hours and they are open 24 hours a day, so you choose when to learn.
  • There will be time between courses to implement and reflect on practice.
  • You will make new contacts and have access to resources after the sessions.

Acknowledgement on completion

Free Statement Of Participation On Completion - CopyFree Statement of Participation on completion for each course


Involving _Volunteers (1)and/or a Digital Badge to share your achievement with others.




So, what’s on offer?

  • *NEW* Keeping Volunteers Safe: Restarting your Volunteer Programme

    This new course covers the essential things you need to consider to ensure a positive experience for individuals returning to volunteering following suspension of programmes in response to Covid-19. The overall aim is to help you prepare your volunteers, organisation and colleagues to return to supporting volunteer involvement in your work. 

    Start now!


    By the end of the course you will have:

    • Considered if and when it is appropriate to scale up or fully restart your volunteer programme;
    • Considered what needs to happen before and during any restart to your volunteer programme;
    • Drawn on the core values and guidance around volunteer practice to keep volunteers safe;
    • Reflected on how what can be learnt from the COVID-19 experience.

    View course here


    Please note: Learners are required to enrol in order to complete this course and receive the certification.

  • Involving Volunteers

    This short course on volunteering has been developed from the volunteer’s perspective. The course is about the essential things you need to consider to ensure a positive experience for individuals engaging in volunteering.

    Start now!

    Involving Volunteers (large)

    By the end of this course you should be able to:

    • - be clear about how volunteering fits into your context and the opportunities it provides
    • - develop an appropriate way of getting to know volunteers and for volunteers to get to know you
    • - understand the importance of supporting volunteers and communicating the difference their contribution makes
    • - identify the volunteers’ voice in order to learn from volunteers’ experiences and ensure that they have a positive volunteering journey.

    View course here

  • Developing leadership practice in voluntary organisations

    This course provides an opportunity for people who work within voluntary organisations, as paid employees or staff, to develop energetic, practical and thoughtful leadership practice. 

    Start now!

    Introducing Leadership in Voluntary Organisations (large)

    By the end of this course you should be able to:

    • - approach leadership in a more energetic and thoughtful way,
    • - discuss approaches to leadership in relation to a number of pressing concerns relevant to voluntary organisations,
    • - practise leadership in a more robust way within small teams and with volunteers, through drawing on some key practices,
    • - offer a critique of dominant approaches to leadership in relation to cases from the voluntary sector,
    • - discuss and reflect on leadership in the voluntary sector in relation to ethics
    • - articulate a form of leadership rooted in practice between diverse groups of people and contexts.

    View course here

  • Collaborative Leadership in Voluntary Organisations

    This course will help you reflect on and develop collaborative leadership practices that will make a difference.

    Start now!

    Collaborative Leadership in Voluntary Organisations (large)

    By the end of this course you should be able to:

    • - describe the context and need for collaborative forms of leadership
    • - describe the range of different leadership identities suggested by collaborative settings and the power relationships implied in these identities
    • - plan and think about the challenges of leading collaborations
    • - experiment with a range of practices of collaborative leadership that will help learners enact better leadership in a range of settings
    • - practice collaborative leadership in a more robust way within voluntary organisations and across organisational boundaries
    • - offer a critique of collaborative leadership in relation to its potential and limitations for leadership of voluntary organisations
    • - discuss and reflect on collaborative leadership in the voluntary sector in relation to power

    View course here