If you want to start working with volunteers, there are a few things you'll need to think about. We have a comprehensive ‘Managing volunteers’ programme which is free to all UK online centres, but here are our own top tips to get you started quickly:
- Get your systems set up
Put together a process for recruiting and inducting volunteers, with volunteer role descriptions, a volunteer agreement, an induction process and checklist. Examples of these documents can be found on the Volunteering England website
- Create an induction pack
Produce an induction pack or booklet for new volunteers, which can include their volunteer agreements, benefits for volunteers etc. It's a good idea to get established volunteers involved in writing the handbook as they can provide first hand experience of what it's like getting started as a volunteer.
- Do your checks, but don't let them get in the way!
If a DBS check (formerly a CRB check) is needed for a new volunteer, you can still allow them to get started and gain experience but do ensure they are supervised at all times.
- Set up a buddying scheme
Set up a buddying scheme, where new volunteers can partner up with an existing volunteer or another member of staff to help them settle into the organisation.
- Train up your volunteers to equip them with the right skills.
From 30 minute webinars to accredited qualifications, training your volunteers with the right skills is vital.
- Encourage a volunteer community
Arrange social events for volunteers as this can provide a great opportunity for them to share knowledge and experience. Chatting over a cup of tea can help to build confidence and add value to the projects you're running.
- Recognise contributions
Always remember to recognise and reward the work that volunteers do with thank you notes, certificates and even special events to celebrate their achievements.