Volunteers can be a real asset to a small or new charity. But remember that every volunteer you recruit will need proper management, so consider if you can afford the necessary time before you jump right in.
Keys to a successful volunteering programme
- Look at what work your organisation needs to accomplish, and consider what elements might be done by volunteers.
- Package those elements up so that they suit different kinds of volunteer. Download this Volunteer Role Planning Sheet that might be helpful to you.
- Microvolunteering is proving very popular – this is where (usually skilled) volunteers undertake very small projects that can often be done via internet from anywhere in the country or even the world – signing a petition, reviewing a website, tweeting a photo etc. Read more at Nesta.
- Treat volunteers with respect – manage them properly and ensure that they feel appreciated. There are some great guides from www.do-it.org.uk to download below.
- For anything other than casual or micro volunteering, you need to have a proper job description for volunteers to follow, so that both parties are clear on their commitment, roles and responsibilities. This also helps to maximise the commitment of volunteers.
- Each volunteer needs to be assigned a charity staff member (or trustee) as line manager, so they have one main contact to liaise with. If you delegate a task to a volunteer, you are still ultimately responsible for the timely and efficient execution of that task.
In a well-run programme, volunteers are motivated, feel that they are making a difference, learn new skills for their CV and give your charity a good reputation. And the charity benefits from additional skills at little cost.
Other Useful links for Volunteer Recruitment and Management
The following organisations offer advice, guides and opportunities to advertise for volunteers:
- NCVO (you can also search for local volunteers, and there are links to yet more volunteer resources)
- Volunteer Scotland
- Volunteering Wales
- Volunteering Matters (for recruiting local volunteers)
- Reach Volunteering (for skilled volunteers)
- Charity IT Help (for IT volunteers)
- CharityJob (mainly advertises paid charity jobs, so perhaps the place that skilled fundraisers, between jobs, might look for volunteering opportunities?)
- MediaTrust (access to volunteers who are PR professionals, plus resources, training etc in media)