Our second deadly sin is MISINFORMATION. Muddied messages and potential volunteers are definitely not a good thing, particularly when promoting volunteer roles.
Honest advertising and recruitment materials are essential when recruiting volunteers to ensure you get the right match for your role and organisation. When a volunteer is looking at your advert, they will be able to see if the role is right for them or not, giving them an opportunity to see if they have the right skills. You can always send them out a more detailed role description and the more information you give them, the better.
Your adverts don’t have to be lengthy, concise is good, but they need to have some basic information, so when you are putting together your materials, ensure you cover at least some of the following. If you can’t fit it all in the advert, why not give a weblink for more info?
Say what it is – don’t just put ‘volunteer’. After-school group leader, sports coach, befriender, treasurer, driver, carer… Do you need to use the word ‘volunteer’ at all?
Why this role is important – what difference does it make?
What the volunteer will be doing?
Describe the main tasks/activities of the role:
- Will it involve working on their own, or as part of a team, or assisting someone else?
- What does it involve – e.g. travel, caring, manual work, organising, assisting, leading, teaching, customer service, computers, fundraising, arts, sports…? Indoors or outdoors?
- What are the specific tasks?
- If the role involves direct work with service-users/customers, give relevant information about their needs.
Skills, experience and qualities needed
Be clear and realistic about the minimum level of skill/experience required to start this role, (e.g. a community transport driver might need a clean driving licence and good people skills).
Although it might be tempting to compile a long list of the qualities of your ‘ideal’ volunteer, try to focus on what’s really important to get them started in the role. For example, asking that people have a commitment to your aims and objectives at this stage (when they barely know what you do) could be quite off-putting to someone who’s only just heard of your organisation. Commitment will develop if volunteers are valued and treated with respect. If the role is suitable for absolutely anyone, say so. Consider what support you could offer to help people develop once in the role.
When and where
- Times/days needed – what days, what time of day, how often, how much flexibility is there?
- Where will the volunteer be based? Is this different from the main organisational address? Will they work from home?
Give information about expenses, induction and training, supervision/line management, insurance cover etc.
What they could get out of it
What are the benefits of volunteering with your organisation? E.g. job satisfaction, a supportive environment, training, learning new skills, using existing skills, chance to get out in the fresh air, meet new people, be part of something worthwhile…
Do volunteers need to be able to commit to a certain level of training? Will they need to register with the Vetting and Barring Scheme because this role is ‘regulated activity’ (from July 2010)? What is involved in your application/selection process?
What to do if you’re interested
Contact details of a named person – give more than one method of contact. Explain the process – what will happen next?
I need help!
The Volunteer Centre can help you with any area of good practice when involving volunteers, so please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or 01384 573381 and ask for Eileen