Getting your organisation in a good position to work with volunteers
Careful planning is the key to building a good foundation for involving volunteers. Consider
- Is everyone in the organisation aware of plans to involve volunteers?
- How will different people be affected – staff, trustees, service users, other volunteers?
- Do we have the human resources to adequately support volunteers?
- Are the people who will support volunteers suitably skilled and trained?
- Have we budgeted the costs of involving volunteers such as payment of out of pocket expenses, training, staff costs for supervision, admin costs for CRB checks if required?
- Are we able to provide roles that are rewarding for volunteers and meet the needs of the organisation?
- Do we have the necessary space and resources (such as a spare desk or computer)?
- Volunteers bring fresh ideas, enthusiasm and experience – are we ready for this?
- Have we considered any risks associated with involving volunteers? (this includes risks to the volunteers and to the organisation)
- Is our insurance cover adequate?
- What policies and procedures do we already have that should be reviewed in the light of involving volunteers?
- Do we need any new policies and/or procedures such as a Volunteer Policy?
When is it not appropriate to involve volunteers?
When answers to the questions above have raised issues for the organisation that cannot be resolved
- To replace a paid member of staff
- When volunteers will be delivering a service that is usually paid for and the recipients could clearly pay
- When the work is intended to make a profit
Some useful information/guidance
Diversity and volunteering
Removing the barriers to volunteering
Creating roles for volunteers
Involving service users
Developing policies and procedures
Writing a Volunteer Policy
Health & Safety for volunteers
Payment of expenses
Sample expenses claim form
Sample role description - admin volunteer
Sample role description - playworker volunteer
Seeing the organisation from a volunteer's perspective