The headlines in the past few weeks have highlighted the sudden influx of highly qualified volunteers arriving at our doors in record numbers. If you frequently utilize volunteers, you probably have systems in place to get them working right away. However, some nonprofits have avoided engaging volunteers on a large scale due to the cost of a structured volunteer program. After all, managing volunteers requires resources and exposes the organization to potential risks. But have you calculated the cost of not engaging potential volunteers? Missed opportunities to engage volunteers are also missed opportunities to introduce people to your needs, your successes, and can be a missed opportunity to engage a potential donor.
Whether you hope to receive hundreds of volunteers or just a few interns, drafting a good set of volunteer policies will get your volunteer program in order quickly and efficiently. Not only do policies enable you to respond to potential volunteers in an acceptable and coordinated way, they can also communicate the organization’s policy on screening, orienting, and supervising volunteers – a must if volunteers will be working with vulnerable populations or will have access to the organization’s resources. The bottom line is that good volunteer policies help facilitate good volunteer management. And good volunteer management allows your organization to provide the volunteer with a meaningful experience, while receiving a valuable contribution in return.
Did you know? The Standards for Excellence® Educational Resource Packet, “Volunteer Policies,” provides guidance on potential topics to address in volunteer policies. Sample volunteer policies are also available, which can serve as a starting point for drafting your own policies. The packet is free and available to Standards for Excellence Institute® members. It is available through the members only section of our website. Hard copies are also available upon request.