Volunteers are, without doubt, one of the most valuable resources organisations can have as they give their time and skills to support not-for-profit programme delivery. However, volunteering has developed and we are seeing more organisations especially in the health and education sector using volunteers to support key staff. This enables nurses and teachers to focus on the essential elements of their role, whilst the volunteers support them by providing one-to-one time with patients and children.
There are certain steps you should consider when looking to recruit volunteers:
Before you recruit volunteers – think about whether the role is suitable for a volunteer to carry out and do you have the right structures in place to support them. How will you make their experience as a volunteer a good one and will there be any development opportunities that may come from it.
Do you have the right policies and procedures in place to make sure that they are safe and properly trained for what you are asking them to do.
Finding volunteers – create a role explaining exactly what you are looking for, emphasising the benefits that it brings to the volunteer and others, entitlement to expenses, contact details if they want more information and use the VANS online volunteer centre to upload your role to the database of opportunities. Click the orange button below to register and upload your volunteering opportunity to our database.
Volunteer applications – use a simple application process that is inclusive and fair, making sure that anyone can use this.
Volunteer interviews – ask the potential volunteer if they need any support to attend or prepare for an interview. Don’t make them too formal – volunteers are unpaid and offering a gift of time. Allow them time to tell you about themselves and what motivates them to take on a volunteer role. It’s good practice to keep a record of your questions and the potential volunteer’s responses.
Volunteer appointment – Once you have chosen your new volunteer, you need to make some checks and take out references and/or criminal record disclosures and health checks (if the role is physically demanding).
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