Planning a Volunteer Position

Planning for rolesThis worksheet is intended to assist you in deciding what types of volunteers could be of assistance to you. We hope that this information will make it easier for you to think of creative ways to involve volunteers and make it easier for us to recruit the right volunteer for you.

Potential Areas in which volunteers might assist your organisation 
In thinking about how and where volunteers might be involved in your organisation there are factors that you might want to consider. You might, for example, want to think about creating volunteer positions through consideration of the following:

  • Are there roles, responsibilities or tasks  of that staff don't want to do? This may be because they are not skilled, too skilled or else simply have a preference to concentrate their efforts in another area. 
  • Are there areas in which there is too much for staff to do alone, and for which we might create volunteer assistants who can extend staff resources? These assistants might assist a staff person directly or could do tasks that benefit all staff.  
  • Are there areas in which you can extend services because volunteers would allow you to begin a programme that you cannot now even consider undertaking without their help?
  •  You might also want to consider the creation of volunteer positions on the recipients of the service.

Consider the following:

  • Positions that are of direct assistance to an individual client. (Counselling, visitation, mentoring, etc.)
  • Office administrative help. (Information services, filing, messengers, etc.)
  • Direct assistance to staff. (Research, training, computer assistance, etc.)
  • Outreach. (Speakers bureau, fundraising, client marketing, etc.)

Design of volunteer positions
Keep the following keys in mind as you think about the specific tasks you would like the volunteer to do:

  • The tasks must be meaningful and significant, both to the agency and to your clientele. This means that your volunteer position must have a goal or purpose that the volunteer can strive to accomplish and can feel good about having achieved. 
  • The volunteer ought to be able to feel some ownership and responsibility for their tasks. 
  • Volunteers are not robots, they must feel that they have some input into and control over the tasks they are asked to do. This will mean including the volunteer in the flow of information and decision-making within the office. 
  • The tasks must fit a part-time situation. Either the tasks must be small enough in scope to be productively approached in a few hours a week, or else it must be designed to be shared among a group of volunteers. 
  • Volunteers must be worked with. They should be assigned to work with staff who are capable of supervising their activities in a productive fashion, and providing on-going direction, evaluation and feedback. What arrangements will you need to make in order to ensure this supervision of the volunteer? 

Scheduling the Volunteer
The more flexible the timeframe of the volunteer position, the greater the likelihood that you can find someone who will be willing to undertake it. Think about the following as different options for the position:

  • Can the tasks be done to a totally flexible schedule at the discretion of the volunteer?
  • Are there set hours during the week when you need the volunteer?
  • Could the tasks be done on evenings or weekends?
  • Must the tasks be done on-site at your office? 

Assessing Managerial Readiness
The following considerations must also be addressed in thinking about a new volunteer position:

  • Do you have adequate assigned space (desk/chair etc) for the volunteer?
  • Have you assigned a supervisor for the volunteer?
  • Do you need to provide any orientation or training for your staff before we involve with volunteers?
  • Do you have a clear idea of the qualifications you will be looking for in a prospective volunteer?
  • Do you know what training, if any,  the volunteer will need to do the tasks the way we want them done?
  • Do you have a firm description of the goals and objectives of the volunteer position?
  • Do you have a plan for including the volunteer in our office activities and communications flow? 

If you have either ideas or questions, feel free to contact the Volunteer Centre and we'll be happy to work with you in developing a plan for including volunteers. Call us on 01 2040885, 01 2022244 or 086 3258803