Board Governance: What are the best practices around volunteer management?

Volunteers are passionate about the causes they support. The donation of time allows organizations, usually with limited financial resources, to increase its impact on the community. Volunteers represent your organization, and thus, it is prudent for the organization to develop policies and standard practices to manage volunteer activities.

Some things to think about if you are planning to develop volunteer policies or procedures:

  • Applications and minimum requirements: consider what skills and abilities you are looking for – does the volunteer need to have first aid training or a driver’s license? If volunteers will be working with vulnerable communities, do you require a criminal record check? Match the requirements to the type of work the volunteer will be doing for you.
  • Job descriptions: setting clear expectations with volunteers ensures that there is clarity on what outcomes you are looking for, and ensures the volunteer understands their role.
  • Orientation and training: volunteers who are knowledgeable about your history, mission and current activities can be a great advocate for the organization while they are volunteering. Volunteers who are trained about your processes, documentation expectations or any other requirements ensures that activities are performed in a consistent manner.
  • Supervision and monitoring: supporting volunteers by being available for questions, or decision making, as well as monitoring to ensure that the activities are performed in an appropriate manner, allows the organization to address issues quickly and maintain quality.

Finally, one key aspect of volunteer management is to consider how you will recognize volunteers for the impact they make on your organization. Ensuring volunteers feel valued and appreciated for the work they do will ensure that they continue to support your organization into the future.

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