MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR VOLUNTEERS
If you are fortunate enough to have help from volunteers at your organisation, it pays to have good processes and practices in place to make sure you both get the most of the relationship.
A robust induction and training programme will help you to retain volunteers and to make the most efficient use of their time and contribution.
Volunteer Induction Checklist
- Introduce them to other staff and volunteers
- Show them around the building/site
- Explain who they can go to if they have any questions or problems
- Show them where they will be helping and where they can find any equipment they need
- Let them know about breaks
- Explain how to claim expenses
- Explain your organisation’s policy on volunteers using telephones/ internet for their own use
- Ask them to shadow experienced volunteers or paid members of staff
They might also need to know about:
- Your organisation’s policies and procedures. For example, equal opportunities, health and safety, risk assessments etc.
- The history, ethos and structure of the organisation
- How to deal with complaints and areas of concern
- The role and responsibility and any volunteers agreement
VOLUNTEER TRAINING NEEDS
Volunteers may need less formal training than paid staff, however it is important that they have the opportunity to get feedback on how they are doing and ways in which they can contribute better.
The first step will be for you to assess any training and development needs they have, and then finding ways to meet these needs. You will need to consider:
- Their preferred way of learning
- Resources needed - time, location, materials
- Budget for any external courses
- Does the training need to be accredited?
- Plan for ongoing support and supervision
HOW MUCH TRAINING SHOULD YOU GIVE TO VOLUNTEERS?
You will need to strike a balance between managing risks and providing opportunities. Depending on the type of work your volunteer is carrying out they may need very little formal training. Make sure you have considered any health and safety, safeguarding or privacy issues.
People who are using volunteering as a route to work may want to enhance their CV with as much training as you can offer!
You may already have internal training packages in place for paid employees that can be used for volunteers too. Great! This will give consistency across everyone contributing to your organisation.
There are plenty of fully funded short courses that develop useful skills and knowledge for volunteers - both to help with their role and for their personal and career development. Suitable courses might include:
- Customer Service
- Business Administration
- End of Life Care
- Equality and Diversity
- Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care
- Team Leading
- Working with People with Mental Health Needs