Volunteers are a valuable resource. Getting the most out of them means putting time and effort into supporting them well. This shouldn't be underestimated. Volunteers give their time for free - in effect, they are making a gift of their time. Donations of money are of course highly valued, and we take care to show how well such money is used. As organisations, we should think of people's donations of time in the same way.
Good involvement of volunteers does take a little more time and effort, but it pays off in the end. Volunteers who feel valued, who are supported and who enjoy their roles will stay longer, and will put more into their role. Remember, they don't come to you for a wage, and can leave at any point if they are not enjoying their time with you. Perhaps the best summary of what a great volunteering experience looks like comes from an old piece of research called A Choice Blend:
Volunteers want to feel welcome, secure, accepted, respected, informed, well-used and well-managed.
Volunteer Centre Bexley is building a range of resources to help better involve volunteers. Please let us know if there is anything else you'd like us to provide or cover.
One-to-one guidance and support
For help and support with managing volunteers, whether it be to answer queries a visit to talk though what you do, or an audit of your volunteering practice please get in touch
Peer support for volunteer managers
If you manage or support volunteers there are 2 groups you should consider becoming a part of:
UKVPMs - An email discussion group - great for sharing/finding new information, and for asking other volunteer managers how they've dealt with issues.
Association of Volunteer Managers - A group working to increase the recognition of volunteer management as a profession.
Our information sheets give an overview of key issues facing organisations working with volunteers. Many include template documents that you can adapt to your own needs.
Starting a Volunteer Programme
What to think about when preparing to introduce a new volunteer programme.
How to write a volunteer policy
Includes a framework policy with questions to help you create a policy that meets your needs.
What volunteering documents do we need?
A list of typical volunteering related policies, procedures, and documents that organisations may need to have in place.
Creating a Volunteer Role
How to draft a role description that meets both your needs and those of potential volunteers. Includes a template role description.
Volunteers and criminal record checking
An overview of the key issues for organisations obtaining Disclosure and Barring Service disclosures on their volunteers.
New forms of volunteering
Many people can't access traditional volunteer roles. This information sheet gives an overview of new ways of involving volunteers.
Planning for Volunteer Involvement
What to consider before the recruitment process starts.
How to manage the recruitment process, from advertising for volunteers to making a selection decision.
Supporting Volunteers (NEW!)
How to give volunteers the support they need, and give and receive feedback.
Some volunteers prefer to stay in the same role, carrying out the same tasks, but others benefit from learning new skills and taking on new challenges. Includes a template volunteer development plan.
How to show your appreciation of volunteers.
Dealing with Problems
How to resolve difficult issues fairly and consistently. Includes a template problem-solving procedure.
Where do things go wrong? (NEW!)
This information sheet looks at the areas where organisations can lose volunteers, and how to avoid getting things wrong.