Top Ten Tips for Planning Volunteer Roles
19 December 2011 at 12:21 pm
When it comes to managing volunteers, a little bit of planning makes all the difference for both the organisation and volunteer. Here are our top tips for planning volunteer roles.
Create a timeframe
Creating a volunteer role often means setting apart a realistic timeframe for the volunteer to work within. Volunteer fatigue may settle in if the position extends too long. Volunteers may also not have time to settle into the role or the organisation if the position is too short. Volunteer Managers should create plans with realistic start and end dates that incorporate the needs and interests of the volunteer.
Share a strategy document
Create a strategy document with your volunteer that contains an action plan and the core tasks that the volunteer will be working on. The volunteer’s personal circumstances, availability and level of training and supervision needed are important to incorporate into the strategy document.
Too many Not for Profit organisations create positions or tasks that should actually be handled by a staff member. Managers should remind themselves that volunteers may not be able to manage tasks beyond a certain time period and that key tasks should always be handled by staff members.
Make sure the volunteer skills are general
Try to design roles with enough flexibility to accommodate a wide skill base. It may be too difficult to attract volunteers with a specific skill set that are willing to work for your organisation.
Cover volunteers legally
Volunteers need to have the appropriate insurance set in place before undertaking voluntary activities. Each volunteer should have a mandatory police check and when working with children must have a working with children check.
Create a volunteer friendly workplace
Other staff need to support the volunteer in their activities as well as the manager. Simple things like introducing a volunteer to staff members within their induction can go a long way in making them feel comfortable in their new workplace.
Train your volunteer
Volunteers should receive appropriate training in order to undertake any activities at your organisation. Training may also involve giving a general brief about the workplace or organisation the volunteer will be working in.
Cover volunteers legally
Volunteers need to have the appropriate insurance set in place before undertaking voluntary activities. Without proper insurance, Not for Profit organisations will be liable for significant damages if the volunteer is placed under any physical or psychological harm while undertaking their voluntary activities. While it can be difficult for smaller Not for Profit organisations to afford insurance, it is imperative that every activity is somehow covered by insurance.
Make sure that the volunteer has the appropriate resources needed to finish their task. This may involve setting up a volunteer with their own computer or work space.
Volunteers should receive ongoing feedback from management about their work. This also will assist a volunteer professionally.
Always say thank you
Volunteers work unpaid hours to undertake activities and should be thanked appropriately. This may involve giving a volunteer a certificate or a presentation at the volunteer’s final week of volunteering.