Volunteering Recruitment Best Practice is essential for creating and maintaining a successful volunteer management programme. Below are the best practice guidelines to consider when recruiting and managing volunteers…
Creating Volunteer Opportunities
- Clear task and volunteering opportunity descriptions
- Having a clear task and descriptions is key to attracting volunteers. The clear description will also allow you to find the right person with skills you need to support your organisation’s operation.
Four step approach to creating a volunteer opportunity description;
- What tasks need doing?
- What skills, qualifications or experience would a volunteer need to carry out these tasks?
- What training and supervision will be needed to support the role?
- What can you offer in terms of volunteer’s experience, if they volunteer with your organisation, for example, what will the volunteer gain from the experience? is it being part of a team? Monthly get together? Learning new skills? Free training?
- A planned campaign with a clear, consistent message of the benefits of volunteering with your organisation is essential for success.
- Consider planning a diverse campaign aimed at different sectors of your local community, including older people, young people, disabled people, unemployed people.
- Look at where you can get your message out and advertise your volunteer opportunities, such as your local volunteer’s centre (link), local press, radio, community events and social media.
- Think about how the role can be adapted to suit different volunteers with varying degrees of time commitments, can it be done from home? can it be carried out by someone on their lunch hour? evening volunteering? half a morning etc…
- It is essential that any interviews and your volunteering application process are an easy, simple and welcoming process.
- Interviews should be a balance between informal yet remaining structured and organised.
- Things you need to consider: how to handle initial enquiries; careful use of application forms and structured interviews that allow you to give the person information about the role as well as getting to know them and understanding their expectations.
- Central Surrey Voluntary Action recommends getting at least one reference from a volunteer. These can be obtained from work or social context. These can range from a basic check that asserts the person is who they say they are, through to detailed recommendations of their suitability for the role.
- It is important to be flexible as references should not be seen as a barrier preventing someone from volunteering.
- Clearly explain the procedure at the interview is essential.
Taster/ informal visits
- Before a volunteer commits to volunteering with your organisation, consider offering them a chance to visit, attend a meeting or work alongside an existing volunteer. This will give you (the organisation) and the volunteer a chance to see if they are a good fit for your team and understand how the organisation work.
- Generally held on the first day, an induction covers essentials such as a welcome to the organisation, an introduction to the volunteer’s role, names of those who can offer support, the layout of the premises, health and safety and a copy of a volunteer’s handbook if available.
Individual and Team Support
- In addition to on-going one-to-one support, regular team meetings or support sessions provide a forum for sharing news, ideas and anxieties, as well as a chance to motivate and show appreciation to volunteers. Structured review meetings held regularly with a volunteer provide mutually valuable feedback.
- To get the best from volunteers and demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to them, structured training and relevant ad hoc training sessions should be offered in just the same way as it is offered to paid staff. Training doesn’t have to be formal sessions, it can include handouts, videos and coaching, etc.
Problem Solving Procedures
- Having a problem-solving procedure ensures that volunteers are treated fairly and not discriminated against. These procedures should be clear, precise and aimed solely at volunteers.
Disclosure and Barring (DBS) List Checks
- It is important to establish if your organisation has the legal right to request DBS and at what level of checks, please use DBS eligibility tool (link) to find out whether you are eligible.
- Any organisation working with children or vulnerable should ensure that they research thoroughly its legal obligations relating to this issue. (Link to DBS pages)
- Organisations are encouraged to ensure that they have safeguarding policies in places for both volunteers and service users.
- Central Surrey Voluntary Action provides free DBS checks for volunteers, please email email@example.com discuss your requirements.
Equal Opportunities & Diversity
- A diverse organisation is one that values difference. Drawing volunteers from as many backgrounds as possible you will benefit from fresh ideas and perceptions offered by people with different skills, attitudes and experiences. The organisation should have a policy in place.
- Volunteers give their time free, but volunteering is not cost-free.
- Reimbursing volunteers’ expenses is an equal opportunities issue which ensures that volunteering is open to everyone regardless of financial status. Organisations should have aspirations to pay reasonable expenses to volunteers.
An organisation should check its insurance cover at least once a year. This will ensure that volunteers are insured under either public or employer’s liability cover;
- Employer’s Liability Insurance: All employers are required by law to take out this insurance to cover employees in the event of an accident, disease or injury. It can also be extended to volunteers.
- Public Liability Insurance: This insurance covers the organisation in the event of injury, death, and loss or damage to the property of non-employees. It is important to confirm with the insurers that this insurance extends to the acts of volunteers.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance: This insurance covers organisation for claims arising from loss or injury caused by advice or other services provided negligently or without reasonable care.
Health & Safety
- All organisations have a duty of care to provide a safe place to work and this should be formally written in the organisation policies. It is essential to inform the volunteer of this policy.
- In relation to Health & Safety, risk assessment involves identifying all hazards, assessing the risks, and putting in place measures to control unacceptable risks.
- If volunteer drivers are required a separate policy should be in place.
Organisations are strongly recommended to seek further advice; more information is available from http://www.hse.gov.uk
- Many organisations benefit from having a volunteer policy which covers all of the above topics.
- To find out more about how to create your own volunteering policy, please visit NCVO’s volunteering policy guideline
For more information please visit on everything volunteering, please visit NCVO guide to volunteering and the law