Alongside the Volunteer Management Toolkit, we provide you with a resource CD full of lots of good practice resources to help you create a fabulous volunteer management programme.
Building a good relationship with your volunteers and supporting them is essential. Making time to ensure they are enjoying what they are doing is an integral part of a successful volunteer programme. If volunteers are unhappy and have no opportunities to raise concerns, they may well leave the organisation or possibly cause negative publicity!
Investing time to manage volunteers properly is thus very important and support/supervision should be well planned, and delivered flexibly to meet the needs of the volunteers within the organisation. Some volunteers will enjoy a formal supervision session, whereas others will disappear at the sight of a form and be unavailable when you try to book a formal meeting with them.
This is the voice of experience! I had two volunteers who simply did not want to make their volunteering formal, it was just a social opportunity for them. The mere sight of me clutching a supervision form or pulling out my diary, was enough to send them on an errand to town, possibly not to return until the following week, when they hoped I had forgotten. I got around it by making time for a chat over coffee now and again, bribing them with chocolate biscuits and asking them informally how things were going, and if there was anything they needed!
Hints and tips on how to support volunteers effectively are in this section of the Volunteer Management Toolkit, along with an information sheet on supporting volunteers.
A volunteer’s induction to your organisation is important, as it ensures the volunteer is fully aware of their role and responsibilities, plus it ensures they know about the organisation and the services it provides.
Planning an induction need not be complicated, so long as you follow some basic guidelines and this section of the Volunteer Management Toolkit, covers everything from planning to actually carrying out the induction.
There are useful information sheets on induction and training, confidentiality and even a volunteer’s charter.
Transparency is important for any successful volunteer management programme and recruitment is a key element of this. It’s important that recruitment systems are structured and information is clearly available, in a range of formats to suit a diverse range of volunteers. If you are for example, looking to recruit volunteers with language skills, it may be helpful to have your recruitment information available in that language, in addition to English.
The selection process needs to be considered, along with how you will deal with volunteers who may not be suitable.
Are you screening processes fair and reasonable?
These are all things to consider and this section of the Volunteer Management Toolkit takes you through every stage of recruitment, from your procedures, to the selection and screening process. There are useful information sheets on recruiting volunteers, hints/tips on things to consider before marketing your opportunities and also information on selection and screening of volunteers.
Health and safety is a key consideration when involving volunteers and they should feel safe whilst they are volunteering. Risk assessments are essential.
However, there are other ways to protect volunteers, such as ensuring they are not out-of-pocket and get their expenses reimbursed, plus ensuring their personal details are kept in a secure and confidential manner.
This section of the Volunteer Management Toolkit looks at key considerations and although there are only five questions in this section, they are essential to an effective volunteer programme.
Before involving volunteers, it’s important to develop appropriate roles and a role/task description is a great way to give volunteers an idea about what they will be doing. It’s important too, that these roles reflect the needs of the organisation and the volunteers.
This section of the Volunteer Management Toolkit looks at this important element of involving volunteers and the questions will help check you are following good practice guidelines.
Engaging a diverse range of volunteers with different skills, personalities and backgrounds is the secret to any successful volunteer programme. It’s important to reflect the diverse communities where volunteers help and who better to support communities, than those who come from them?
Engaging diverse volunteers also helps an organisation be responsive and flexible with the support it offers, and often these volunteers come up with ideas to improve an organisation’s services to better meet the needs of those it supports.
This section of the Volunteer Management Toolkit covers the elements of ensuring you recruit and involve a diverse range of volunteers.
Sample questions include:
- Is everyone in the organisation open to diversity among the team?
- Are tasks adapted, where possible, to suit the needs and interests of individual volunteers?