Managing volunteers

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 and get in touch with our Best Practice Manager Shafia by email for specific guidance as well as downloadable forms and templates. All of this support and guidance is free and tailored to you!

  • Equality and Diversity

    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.

  • Expenses

    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.

  • Induction and Training

    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.

  • Support and Supervision

    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.

  • Motivation and Retaining

    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.

  • Rewarding and Recognising

    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’.

  • Policies

    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.

  • Safe Volunteering Resources

    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.

  • Tricky Situations

    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.

  • Recruitment

    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.

  • Trustees

    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.

  • Corporate Volunteering

    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.

  • COVID-19

    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.

  • Everything Else

    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.


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