In times of financial uncertainty or hardship, volunteering has a key role to play in supporting communities and individuals.
Key issues for organisations
- A greater need for services may require you to take on more volunteers and create new roles.
- If unemployment increases there is more demand for opportunities to volunteer.
- People with specialist skills to offer may be available to volunteer for you. Are you ready to take advantage of this?
- Newly unemployed people who wish to volunteer will not know how long they will be available for and may be apprehensive about making a commitment. Be prepared to be flexible and accommodating.
- As obtaining funding becomes more challenging, any cutbacks to your volunteering programme may not be cost effective in the long run. For a programme to work effectively, volunteers need support and resources.
- Good practice in how you manage volunteers is more important than ever in ensuring efficiency for your organisation and a beneficial experience for your volunteers.
Some good practice points to note
- Reimburse expenses promptly and in cash. Consider whether there is a need to pay travel expenses upfront to enable a volunteer to get to your organisation. Back this up with the receipt later.
- Providing training and opportunities for personal development is great for CVs. Help volunteers to see the relevance of their skills and how they are appropriate in different work situations.
- Let volunteers know that you are able to provide them with a reference.
- Consider the use of telephone, internet and computers to enable volunteers to job search. Have a clear policy on this with any boundaries as appropriate.