5 Must-Have Policies for Your Volunteer Program
Volunteer management is sometimes referred to as “HR for volunteers.” And that’s exactly what it is! Coordinators of volunteers are responsible for ensuring that the organization’s volunteer human resources are met, and that volunteers are properly recruited, onboarded, and supported in their roles.
And what mental image does “Human Resources” conjure up, if not a big, fat book of policies and procedures? As with any form of HR management, well-developed policies are the important – if not terribly exciting – backbone of a successful volunteer program.
If you’re new to the field of volunteer management, it can be difficult to know where to start with building policies and procedures. Here are 5 must-have policies for any volunteer program:
1. Risk management policy
Before you start planning anything else for your volunteer program, you need to have completed a thorough risk analysis. Having a risk management policy in place means that you’ve identified the risks in your volunteer program, and know the strategies you’ll employ to mitigate risks in each step of the volunteer management cycle, as well as identified who’s responsible for managing these risks.
2. Recruitment policy
A recruitment policy helps you determine how volunteer needs are identified within your organization, and once those needs are identified, how volunteer position description are created to fill those needs. Your procedures should lay out what information is included in each position description and what methods of recruitment are used.
3. Screening policy
Your screening policy outlines how volunteers are screened at your organization, and whether the screening steps differ depending on the volunteer’s position. You should also determine for which volunteer positions there is a bona fide occupational requirement to complete a police reference check and include this in your procedures.
What is your organization’s commitment to accessibility? Your accessibility policy should outline what accommodations can be made for volunteers with disabilities, and also the procedures for any situation in which a volunteer’s accessibility needs would preclude them from holding a particular position. Depending on where you’re located, there may also be accessibility-related legislation which your organization must abide to, which may dictate some of your policy.
5. Performance management
Lastly, your performance management policy and procedures should help you establish guidelines for the supervision and evaluation of volunteers. Who is responsible for supervising volunteers and providing them with feedback? How are volunteers evaluated: by who, how often, and based on what criteria? What steps should be taken if a volunteer is not performing or has conduct issues? At what point is a volunteer dismissed? And what steps should be taken if a volunteer’s performance is exemplary?
Start with writing these 5 policies – and their accompanying procedures – and your volunteer program will have a solid foundation from which to build.