Wednesday, October 10, 2012

15 Questions About Your Volunteer Program

It's hard to imagine a nonprofit's volunteer program succeeding without a strong infrastructure in place behind it. This is rarely a problem for most organizations but just because there are policies in place doesn't mean they are the right ones.

In his book "The Idiot's Guide to Managing and Recruiting Volunteers," John L. Lipp wrote that organizations should undergo a routine assessment of their volunteer programs. This involves taking inventory of what you have and what you need. He presented the following checklist that you should go over when determining how you can approve things:
  • Does our volunteer program have its own mission statement that explains why volunteers are an integral part of our organization?
  • Do we maintain appropriate insurance coverage for volunteers?
  • Do we have set goals for what volunteers will try to accomplish each year?
  • Do we have a volunteer recruitment plan?
  • Is information on how to volunteer featured prominently on our web page?
  • Do we have handouts for prospective volunteers?
  • Do we have an application for prospective volunteers to complete?
  • Do all of our new volunteers attend an orientation to learn more about the organization and the role of volunteers?
  • Is planning for volunteer engagement included in all agency strategy meetings and new project development?
  • Do we have written position descriptions for each volunteer function?
  • Have we prepared employees to work effectively with volunteers?
  • Is each volunteer assigned a supervisor to ensure accountability?
  • Do we have written policy on confidentiality?
  • Are all of our policies for volunteers written down in one place?
  • Do volunteers have time sheets so they can track their hours?

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