The volunteering (service) section of the DofE is about you finding ways to help people: formally or informally, in a group or on your own.  Participants should try to organise their own volunteering activity e.g. charity shop work, helping train younger students at their own sports club, helping run a regular play group, visiting elderly care home patients etc.  The idea is that your work should benefit someone other than just yourself.

Finding a suitable volunteering activity that ticks all the DofE rules can sometimes be awkward, especially for younger pupils.  Please check with us before you start any activity to make sure that what you are doing is going to be OK.


Some DofE rules… ALL volunteering work…

  • Must be unpaid
  • Must be undertaken for 3 or 6 or 12 months, depending on award level.
  • Must be undertaken regularly over the correct timescale (one hour per week)
  • Should not be a “job” or work placement for a solely profit-making business like working in a VET or doing paperwork for an accountancy firm or working at a garden centre or working for a commercial sports activity provider
  • Doing work for a charity or non-profit enterprise is ideal (see below)

How many hours do I need to complete?

  • You need to complete one hour a week of your chosen activity for the timescale you have chosen for this section showing committed and regular participation: it’s a marathon NOT a sprint
  • A SHORT intensive period of activity squashed into a few days does NOT count.

What can I do for my volunteering?

Volunteering gives you the chance to make a difference to people’s lives and use your skills and experience to help your local community. You can use this opportunity to become involved in a project or with an organisation that you care about.

  • Helping people: Helping children; Helping older people; Helping people in need; Helping people with special needs; Youth work
  • Community action & raising awareness: Campaigning; Cyber safety; Council representation; Drug & alcohol education; Home accident prevention; Peer education; Personal safety Promotion & PR Road safety
  • Working with the environment or animals: Animal welfare; Environment Rural conservation; Preserving waterways; Working at an animal rescue centre; Litter picking; Urban conservation; Beach and coastline conservation; Zoo/farm/nature reserve work (not for profit organisation)
  • Helping a charity or community organisation: Administration; Being a charity intern; Being a volunteer; Lifeguarding; Event management; Fundraising; Serving a faith community; Supporting a charity; Working in a charity shop
  • Coaching, teaching and leadership: Dance leadership; DofE Leadership; Group leadership;
    • Other possible in-school volunteering activities include: library assistants (speak directly to the Librarian: limited numbers); charity fund raising etc.

A helpful list of more examples can be found here: Volunteering Ideas


Who will assess my skill?

You must ask a suitable adult (not a parent or relative) to be your assessor at the outset.  Explain to your assessor the importance of setting goals that focus on the charitable nature of your volunteering rather than a “job”.

Your assessor must be suitably qualified to be able to advise you, set suitable goals and monitor your progress. You will ask your assessor to complete and sign your record book once you have finished the required time.  Keep a diary record of dates you attend.


What do I need to do when I have chosen my skill?

  1. Please complete the form provided about your chosen volunteering activity and hand this in to your DofE leader by the deadline set. If you are unsure about whether or not your activity is suitable speak to your leader beforehand to check. Once your form has been submitted and approved you can then upload your activity details on eDofE and submit them for formal approval.
  2. Once your activity has been formally approved you will need to ask your assessor for your volunteering section to sit down with you and set some goals that you will work towards over the course of your timescale. These goals must be met at the end in order to pass so make sure they are realistic in the timescale you have chosen.
  3. You will also need to hand your assessor the letter in your folder which outlines their role in your DofE award and requires them to complete their details and sign the form to agree to be your assessor. This letter will need to be returned to your DofE leader by the deadline set.

What do I do when I’ve completed my volunteering section?

When you FINISH: ask your assessor to complete your eDofE record card (Bronze ; Silver) if they agree that you have finished the required time. This completed record card will need to be scanned onto eDofE, marked as assessor’s report and submitted to your leader for final approval. Taking photos or keeping certificates is also useful to scan onto eDofE.

Thank you to Reigate Grammar School for their assistance with our DofE webpages.