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This version of VolResource is no longer being updated. Please use the revamped site instead:

To access the old pages for any reason (e.g. smaller file sizes):

and do check all information thoroughly.

Introduction to VolResource

Updated 16/1/12

This page

Access key 5, and access key 0 for Accessibility section.


About the site

VolResource aims to provide practical resources for people involved in charities, voluntary or community organisations, making use of communications technology such as this web site and our email newsletter. This site carries briefings, contact information, specialist sources, suppliers and more, with news now on VoluntaryNews. It acts as a portal bringing together basic information on these pages, a wide range of links to relevant web sites for more material alongside tips on key issues and what to look out for elsewhere. You can use VR as a database of contacts.

Whether you are looking for a new membership system, details on who provides training, a basic briefing on legal issues, relevant conferences or anything else to do with making an organisation tick, whether it has fifty paid staff or none, we hope to point you in the right direction. Our starting point is 'what is useful to those relatively new to the sector or a particular aspect of its work?'. While we aim to cover anything to do with running a voluntary organisation, we only touch on fundraising, leaving it to various other well-established web site (see Fundraising on the Net).

All links are checked regularly, using a combination of technology and human judgement, to make sure they are still current. Further updates from users are very welcome. Pages show a date of last update (usually given as the beginning of the week) - this can be a minor or in-depth revision and while we do our best to keep things current we do have limits on time and resources. Note that your computer or internet service provider may have kept local copies of VolResource pages (caching), so if the page date is very old try the browser Refresh or Reload button.

Please read our Disclaimer, and let us know if you think something is missing or wrong.

There are 2 basic types of VolResource page:

Briefings, including Sample Documents, Topic Reviews and Extras, will generally be reviewed less frequently than Listings.

The site first went live in April 1999 and has been continuously revised since. See Copyright and Credits for more background.

Finding your way around

To allow for people coming at an issue from different angles and starting points, we try to give cross-references and alternative routes.

The top bar provides site help, with a link to the front page and search. The search facility isn't as sophisticated as Google and, while it should be effective on the site, the following could get you to useful information quicker:

External links (to other organisations' web sites) should no longer open in a new browser window - we've changed this as it is not considered good practice. If you want, you can open new windows (or tabs) with a 'right click' in most modern browsers.

The main content areas of VolResource show web links underlined, unless your browser has this switched off, but the navigation menus may only show an underline when your cursor/mouse is on them.

Currently, and are interchangeable in locating a page. The dot org dot uk style is preferred.

News and Events pages

See the VoluntaryNews website. Here, items can be grouped in more than one way at the same time: hosts our newsletter mailing list. We also have the CharityBlog website, for more personal views, positive news, social media connections.


The use of Style Sheets (see Site Design) is an integral part of current accessibility standards. Frames or graphics for navigation or structure can be problematic for those using screen readers, with poor eyesight or other access issues, and have been avoided.

When we check other web sites, obvious accessibility problems are noted and a hash sign # put against entries (assuming they otherwise meet our criteria for inclusion). Poor use of colours or contrast, no alternative to Flash or graphics for navigation or information, or 'Internet Explorer only' requirements are some issues which tend to get the thumbs down.

Keyboard shortcuts

NB We have stopped developing our use of 'Access Keys' but they are likely still to be available on the VolResource site.

Access keys, while not well known, are recommended to allow easier navigation for those who have difficulties with using a mouse. This selects key web links by pressing 'alt' ('ctrl' on Macs) and the relevant character (see below). Depending on your browser software, you may then need to press Enter for the link to activate. Some browsers (Opera?, Netscape 6) don't implement access keys at all.

Government guidelines for its own web sites have been used as a starting point, but other popular sites (e.g. BBC) have also acted as a guide. The government guide is [in brackets] where we deviate:

* These won't work in Internet Explorer.

Links to specific section front page or facilities on VolResource:

Do let us know if the above is useful or needs to be improved in some way. Note: some very old pages on VolResource may not use access keys.

Site Design

The site should meet XHTML 1.0 (Transitional) code standards, style sheet/CSS files should also meet standards (level 2). Some very old pages may not comply. We try to keep things simple and lean, to keep download and processing times as short as possible, and any technical complexities have to earn their keep.

The site is designed around the use of Style Sheets (CSS) - most web browsers now work with these. However, those with older browser programs, especially Netscape (up to version 4.7), will see a fairly crude layout. As we've seen use of these drop from around 10% of visitors to about 3% (at early 2006), we think it's time to move on. We recommend switching to Firefox, the open source browser.

Other known issues: Netscape 6 ignorance of access keys appears to mess up the top bar rather badly. Internet Explorer on Mac - we hope we've fixed problems here, but text may appear lower down the screen than it should.

Other Matters

The following shorthand has been used to indicate some quality aspects of a linked site, although with the growth of the site (and technology changes) this is no longer properly maintained:

Deep Linking

This terms refers to the practice of linking to a web site beyond its home page. We do this quite a lot, to make it easier for users to find relevant information and contacts. It is not our intention to infringe copyright or "pass off" material as our own. However if any web site operator has a concern about our links, they should get in touch and we will do our best to resolve the issue.


Style sheets allow a special version for print purposes. Assuming we've updated the particular page, this should 'clean up' the presentation so that site menus disappear and links in the content body are made visible (but not in all browsers). For some pages with fixed size graphics (diagrams etc), you may need to set your printer to Landscape setting, rather than Portrait - or use shrink to fit if you have this.

Privacy, spam

VolResource does not generally use cookies, but may do so in email newsletter mailing list management, or to identify blog users. We don't collect any information when you are viewing our pages other than the hits recorded by the hosting server log. We only use the latter for looking at usage and trends, correcting errors and the like - no personalised analysis. NOTE: The VoluntaryNews site uses the Google Analytics service, which does use cookies (and also requires javascript to work).

Information requested in response forms or sent via emails is only used to provide the related service or in analysis of aggregate usage.

We do not send spam or commercial emails. However, spammers are getting very good at "spoofing" where email comes from. We only send out from a limited number of email addresses, so if you receive anything which appears to be from us, but starts with info, webinfo, listing, news or consult (and some old ones we can't remember) you can guarantee it is spam, or worse.

Happy browsing!