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Managing volunteers in your organisation

16 February 2022

As a not-for-profit organisation, most of your workforce is probably comprised of volunteers. These individuals are devoting their time and energy to helping the community through your organisation. Though these individuals are offering their services without expecting compensation, they still require supervision to assure that their jobs are done correctly. Furthermore, it is essential that your organisation manages its volunteers to minimise the risk of harm to the community members you are attempting to serve and the volunteers themselves. 

Training Programme

As a not-for-profit, it is essential that your organisation develops a training programme for its volunteers. The individual programme will depend heavily on the position the volunteer holds, the experience he/she brings to the role, the needs of the community member(s) he/she is serving and the policies in place by your organisation.
While in the training programme, volunteers should be given a safety handbook outlining your organisation’s policies. Further, he/she should sign a waiver after reading through the organisation’s policies and procedures.

The training programme should also include the following:

  • An official welcome to the organisation and education on the history, mission statement and services provided. Outline the goals of the organisation and the specific needs of the community members serviced.
  • Provide an overview of the skills and responsibilities required for the position. If special equipment is being used, a supervisor should teach the volunteer how to use it until the volunteer feels comfortable.
  • Explain the organisation’s policies and procedures such as reimbursement policies and sexual harassment training.
  • Conduct a safety briefing covering how the volunteer can protect him/herself and community members from danger and injury while representing the organisation.

Managing Volunteers

After volunteers complete the training programme, it is essential that your staff members continue to monitor and manage them throughout their tenure at your organisation. Assure that your staff members feel comfortable delegating responsibilities to the volunteers and correcting them if they make mistakes. Furthermore, if a volunteer is acting inappropriately, advise the staff members to dismiss the volunteer before he/she inflicts harm onto another person or him/herself.

On another note, provide motivation to your volunteers to work hard for the community. Encourage them and praise them for giving it their all. In addition, provide them with a small gift as gratitude for their hard work.

Checklist for Supervising Volunteers

To ensure that your organisation is fully prepared for managing volunteers, determine if your not-for-profit does the following:

  • Compile a description of all volunteer positions describing the tasks and duties expected.
  • Maintain and distribute a volunteer safety handbook for use during training.
  • Establish a grievance policy in the event that volunteers are dissatisfied while working for the organisation.
  • Assure that all volunteers sign a waiver acknowledging the organisation’s policies.
  • Establish disciplinary standards for volunteers.
  • Train all staff members and supervisors who come in contact with volunteers on how to interact with them.

Our team of insurance experts are here to help. If you need assistance with establishing policies for volunteers, please contact Hazelton Mountford at 01905 611 951.

Common Exposures for Not-for-Profit Organisations