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:

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.