External factors

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.