Managing volunteers can be a minefield, but get it right and your organisation can flourish. We know that for many of us, being a volunteer manager can be a solitary role. However the good news is that we have a whole host of ways to support you with everything volunteer management – from the basics to keeping up-to-date with the latest in volunteer management best practice.
Find out how we can work with you to manage your volunteers, recruit volunteers as well as a resource bank of templates and guidance, advertising your roles with us, subscribing to our mailing list for volunteers managers or checking out a few testimonials of organisations.
Any questions? Get in touch with our Volunteering Services Manager Shafia.
Working with VCC
Do you work with volunteers? Volunteer Centre Camden is here to help!
Volunteer Centre Camden is an independent charity which supports non-profit organisations that involve volunteers in Camden. And we have a range of services for volunteer managers to do just that, including:
- Best Practice Plus – One-to-one best practice consultancy to support your organisation to work with volunteers using recognised Best Practice techniques
– Includes the Greater London Volunteering Health Check – a ‘health check’ for your volunteering programme
– we will guide you through the ten points of Best Practice and ensure you have all the help and support you need to complete the Health Check
– Start-up sessions: These sessions are specifically for Volunteer Managers new to Camden, or those interested in joining us as a member. The session gives an overview of what Volunteer Centre Camden has to offer, how the brokerage service works, and takes a look at how you can make your volunteering opportunities sound more exciting to potential volunteers, to help get more people interested in joining you!
- Resource Bank – Guides, templates and links – a collection of all the documents and tips you need for your volunteer management
- Events for Organisations – Volunteer Manager Forums, Training (Workshops, lunch and learn), Volunteering Fairs, Volunteer Manager Cafes – check our Events page for the most up-to-date info about what’s coming soon
- Volunteer Recruitment – We are contacted by more than 7000 people a year who want to volunteer in Camden. We promote volunteering widely through all of our services for volunteers and online (via Simply Connect on our website as well as Plinth (formerly Time to Spare) and as a partner organisation your opportunities can be seen by all these potential volunteers. Start advertising your opportunities now. Other ways to recruit volunteers locally include:
– SkillShare – Search lists of potential volunteers with specialist skills and ask them directly to support your organisation. You can do this easily with Plinth (formerly Time to Spare)
–Team UP – We match your organisation with business volunteers
– Volunteering Fairs – This is your chance to ‘sell’ your volunteering opportunities to a number of people looking to volunteer in a short amount of time. It’s also the perfect opportunity to network with local non-profits.
- News and Updates – Sign up for our volunteer managers’ mailing list, follow and tag us on Social Media (links on every page)
Good to know: Best Practice Plus is now able to offer free services for Camden non-profits which have a turnover of less than £150K per year this includes one-to-one support as well as events. There is a limit of two free places per organisation at each event (forums, workshops, masterclasses). Get in touch with Shafia by email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take advantage of this offer. Many thanks to our funder Camden Council for making this possible.
Please note: Our partners that work with volunteers must be non-profit organisations which includes registered charities, community groups, social enterprises and the statutory sector (the local authority, the NHS, the Police).
Any questions? Get in touch with our Best Practice Manager Shafia.
There are a number of ways to recruit volunteers in Camden.
- Simply Connect database where you can post your volunteering roles
- Plinth (formerly Time to Spare) (choose from a pool of volunteers by skill and experience; perfect also for short term roles)
All of these are completely self-serve and you have 24/7 admin control, including adding, amending and deactivating your volunteering roles anywhere at any time that suits you as well as the ability to get in direct contact with volunteers.
You may also want to consider registering with
At our Volunteering Fairs where you can meet a number of people interested in volunteering and get your volunteering process started without delay including arranging interview dates or visits to your organisation.
Our volunteering fairs sell out quickly and are well attended. Check out our Events page for details of upcoming fairs.
We can also promote your volunteering roles via our social media. See side bar for links and tag us on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram and Facebook, and regular emails to people interested in volunteering locally. Any questions about this? Contact our Operations Manager Sheila by email – mail to email@example.com
Do you need to develop a volunteer policy, role descriptions, DBS checks or induction policy? We are an accredited Volunteer Centre and champion best practice in volunteering and volunteer management. Check out the items below for specific guidance and downloadable forms and templates.
Anyone can volunteer regardless of background, disability, age, class, gender, religion and more, however some volunteers find there are barriers to getting involved. Volunteer managers play a vital role in removing those barriers so that everyone has equal access to volunteering.
It is best practice in the UK to reimburse volunteers for all agreed ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses. However, it’s equally important to avoid paying volunteers more than what they have spent as it can have implications not only on benefits they may receive but also create an unintentional employment contract.
Different volunteering roles within the same organisation are likely to come with different inductions and ongoing training, and it’s a good idea to plan this in advance of recruitment. A good induction builds confidence and ensures that both the volunteers and volunteer managers have a common understanding of the organisation and their volunteering role. Ongoing and role-specific training helps the volunteers keep up-to-date with the latest guidance and is a chance for personal development.
Providing support for volunteers and having a named contact are absolute essentials to ensure volunteers feel supported in their role and that they are doing what they are meant to do. With regular supervision sessions, volunteer managers have a way of making sure that the volunteer is happy in their role, to identify any extra training or personal development needs and to give feedback.
Volunteers are not motivated by money! So it’s extra vital to make sure that the volunteering role meets the volunteer’s motivation for getting involved (which may change over time), and to make sure that they stick around. Knowing your volunteers and having good communication with them is essential to making sure they are committed and happy in their role, and to identify any issues as early as possible.
An essential part of making sure that volunteers stay on with your organisation is to make sure that they feel valued as an individual and also as part of the larger team. This can be anything from a simple ‘thank you’ at the end of the volunteer’s shift to more involved things like social events, thank you cards and reward schemes such as ‘Value You’.
It’s always a good idea to have a number of policies and procedures in place before you involve volunteers in your organisation. We have a number of templates which cover a number of different areas of volunteer management.
These are free to download and adapt for your organisation.
The health and wellbeing of volunteers, paid staff and service users, as well as the reputation and finances of organisations is all potentially at risk by involving volunteers. However, the good news is that there are many things that you can do to reduce the risk of any potential damage by planning ahead. A good place to start is risk assessing all your volunteering roles and taking steps to reduce those risks where possible.
Let’s face it, sometimes managing volunteers can be anything but plain sailing. From time to time difficult situations will arise which need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Having those conversations and taking action sooner is always better … Take our word for it! Establishing good communication between volunteers and volunteer managers is essential to successfully navigate through a tricky situation, whatever it may be.
Recruiting the right person for the right role is key to making sure that both of you have the best start possible, and that the person’s motivations to volunteer are met by that role. It’s a good idea to write good role descriptions for every role which outline the tasks, responsibilities as well as the benefits to the volunteer and the organisation. It’s also important to keep an open mind and be flexible when someone offers their skills or life experience… even if it doesn’t fit with one of your current roles.
Yes, trustees are volunteers too! Depending on the organisation, trustees may have anything from an occasional, light-touch commitment to something more frequent and possibly even getting involved in operational issues. However the overall role of all trustees is to provide strategic direction of a voluntary organisation. It’s important to keep an eye on the skills that your board has, and to identify and fill any gaps that may exist.
Businesses of all kinds look for ways to keep hold of their paid staff and to offer opportunities for them to ‘give back’ and support the local community. Corporate volunteering comes in many shapes and sizes and can be done as a team or individually. Through our not-for-profit social enterprise initiative Team UP, we match businesses with local non-profits who could use their help. We have a dedicated team to work with both sides to make sure that both sides are happy with the volunteering match and that it goes smoothly on the day.
It’s true to say that the coronavirus pandemic has presented a variety of opportunities and challenges… and that life in Camden and beyond has been affected for the foreseeable future. As we continue to navigate the ‘new normal’, finding solutions to involving volunteers old and new is an essential part of our continued success. The good news is that we have a produced a number of guides to help you do just that.
Of course there’s more to volunteer management than the categories outlined above. The good news is that our Best Practice Manager, Shafia is on hand to give one-to-one tailored support at a time that suits you. We also have a number of Events throughout the year for volunteer managers for peer support, learning, networking, volunteer recruitment and more.
Post your opportunities
Simply Connect is our online database of volunteering roles in Camden and its borders. It’s completely self serve, gives you direct contact with potential volunteers who are interested in volunteering with you, admin control of your organisation’s profile as well as the ability to add, amend and delete all of your volunteering roles.
You can have multiple logins per organisation and it’s quick and easy to sign up as a new user.
Once your organisation and your volunteering roles are approved then they are published and available to anyone who accesses any of our services for volunteers (drop-ins, appointments, volunteering fairs) and of course anyone who has access to the internet. You will receive an email to let you know they have been approved.
A quick note on approval. All we need to make sure is that your organisation is a non-profit (charity, community group, social enterprise, statutory sector) and that there is no payment for volunteering.