Although it is called the ‘voluntary sector’, not all organisations use volunteers in carrying out their work. It is only the governing body (the people ultimately responsible for the organisation) who have to be volunteers, and even that is not absolutely essential. (See Glossary)
Volunteer Management - Contents
Recruiting and Managing Volunteers
- A good place to start is Volunteering England – now part of NCVO (website/email liable to change). Website has all sorts of resources for volunteer managers such as good practice information sheets, volunteer management portal. Phone and email information line is only available to members – freephone/textphone 0800 028 3304. Offices in London and Birmingham, phone 0845 305 6979, email: email@example.com
- Volunteer Scotland. Resource include Good Practice Guides.
- Volunteer Centre Edinburgh has downloadable Good Practice Guides, other resources and training.
- Volunteer Now provides support, information and training in Northern Ireland. See their Publications page for a good selection of material under Volunteer Management available for download, such as Volunteer Policy, Volunteers and the Law. 129 Ormeau Road , Belfast, BT7 1SH, phone 028 9023 6100.
- Wales Council for Voluntary Action. The Volunteering Wales site is mainly for prospective volunteers.
- Volunteering Matters, which was CSV until April 2015, has various volunteering programmes, for example Employee Volunteering services. 237 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9NJ.
- vinspired youth volunteering agency for England set up with government support in 2006.
- A Volunteer Training Pack, developed by Renaissance London, is hosted by the Museum of London website.
- Volunteering In the Arts Toolkit with English (2012) and Scottish (2015) versions.
See our Volunteering Opportunities page for online listing services/apps, other volunteering agencies, pro bono brokers etc.
Also known as virtual volunteering or micro-volunteering.
Virtual Volunteering Resources from serviceleader.org at University of Texas).
Online Volunteering, managed by United Nations Volunteers, is also worth a look.
Jayne Cravens is an expert in online volunteering. She refers to the above two sites, but adds (in a UKVPM posting) a caution not expect to launch a community of OVs over night. “Start with just one or two online volunteering tasks, and a very small number of online volunteers, so you can build up your own skills in online people management. Don’t overwhelm yourself — it’s so easy to do when starting an OV project.”
- Association of Volunteer Managers for those who manage volunteers in England.
- Scottish Association of Volunteer Managers – not sure what is happening here.
- Scottish Volunteering Forum.
- National Association of Voluntary Service Managers is a membership organisation that exists to support and develop best practice in volunteer management in the NHS. Also see this NHS link.
- Association of Volunteer Service Managers is a national membership organisation for anyone managing volunteers in hospice or palliative care settings.
- UK Volunteer Manager forum (UKVPM) is an email discussion list with generally active and helpful contributors.
- Workers in Student Community Volunteering has an email list dedicated to student volunteering (HE/FE) queries, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or see JISCmail server.
Slightly different is the Association of Independent Volunteer Centres, a collaboration of five volunteer centres in Northern Ireland.
- Investing in Volunteers is a quality standard for organisations that involve volunteers in their work, covering planning for volunteer involvement, recruiting volunteers, selecting and matching volunteers and supporting and retaining volunteers. There is also Investing in Volunteers for Employers, for those running employee volunteering programmes.
- National Occupational Standards for Managing Volunteers – see our Training Resources page.
- Institute of Leadership & Management has qualifications which starts at NVQ level 3 and do go up to level 5 (link missing at Oct. 2014). For the nearest ILM Centre offering the NVQs phone 01543 266867 or email: email@example.com
- Award in Volunteer Management is assessed by Lantra Awards. The qualification, relating to the NOS, is for those already involved in supervising or managing volunteers, and is assessed by a single project. LearnDirect may have an online course which connects.
- PNE Development provides a range of NVQ qualifications (ILM accredited) for Volunteer Managers and deliver them through an e-learning and e-assessment system.
- Various Scottish courses from Volunteer Scotland.
- St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham has a short course in Managing Sports Volunteers.
- One-year part-time Certificate in the Effective Management of Volunteers from Queen’s University Belfast School of Education, with Volunteer Now (not running 2012/13).
- BA Professional Development in Volunteer Management from University of Dundee is one option in the Professional Development programme from its School of Education, Social Work & Community Education.
- New Zealand Competencies for Managers of Volunteers are worth checking.
Better Impact (previously Volunteer Squared) is a web-based system, originally from Canada.
Three Rings, produced by a team of volunteers working for Three Rings CIC, a not-for-profit company. In use by university Nightlines, Samaritan branches, community libraries etc.
VC-Connect, developed by Voluntary Action Sheffield, is a back-office system for volunteer centres to track the organisations and volunteers they are working with, and which feeds through to their Volunteer Connect online platform.
Has the current version of Do-It , the listings website for volunteering vacancies (revamped late 2014), abolished the old V-Base software which linked with it, designed mainly for volunteer centres?
Volunteer Kinetic A web based system, designed in Manchester.
Volbase: There are various programs with this name, including one used by IBM for their own use in volunteer matching.
Volgistics is a web-based recruiting tracking and coordinating system from the US. The previous VolunteerWorks desktop program has been retired.
VolunteerHub is another American online offering for managing volunteers.
Go2give is a UK based operation that allows volunteers to book shifts via its web based portal.
Also see: Membership (and fundraising) systems will often have relevant facilities for volunteer management.
- Community Works (Brighton & Hove) has a useful good practice website.
- Try Refugee Action for update on the legal position on volunteering by refugees and asylum seekers.
- Institute of Volunteering Research.
- Energize, Inc is a comprehensive, American website for ‘leaders of volunteers’. Useful if you can translate the terminology.
- Volunteer Today is an American ‘electronic gazette’ with some useful tips.
- e-Volunteerism is a quarterly online publication. While mainly US in origin, it does have contributors from Australia, Canada, UK, Italy, Japan and also features a ‘Keyboard Roundtable’ of international representatives. To access most articles, you need to subscribe or pay a per article fee (3 dollars?). There’s lots to plough through.
- International Association for Volunteer Effort promotes, celebrates, and strengthens volunteerism worldwide.
- UN Volunteers.
- VolunteerMark Blog.
- Organisations for volunteer managers around the world: Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada, Australasian Association for Managers of Volunteers, Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (USA).
- Volunteering New Zealand’s managers pages.
A lot of avoidable tensions between volunteers and the rest of an organisation are about differences in expectations, often unvoiced. Remember it is a two-way contract – volunteers want something in return for their efforts, whether it is ‘only’ a feeling of satisfaction from doing something useful or contributing to society. They could also be looking for work experience, including learning new skills, something to put on their CV or a chance to influence. It is helpful if this ‘unwritten contract‘ is out in the open, along with what level of commitment the organisation is looking for, and policies on behaviour (e.g. advance warning of absences, conforming to equal opportunities requirements) and expenses, for instance. You should make sure that this can’t be interpreted as an employment contract, which could open a whole can of worms.
For issues around trade union relations and how volunteers relate to paid staff in providing services, see our Glossary, under Drain Guidelines, for Guidelines for relations between volunteers and paid workers in the Health and Personal Social Services.
VITA (Volunteering Initiative for the Third Age) was a project of WRVS (now Royal Voluntary Service), to raise the profile of volunteering by older people, and to remove barriers. Project closed Nov ’06.
Insurance can be an issue leading to upper age limits being imposed. Proper health and safety risk assessments could be a better way of deciding whether a volunteer is suitable for/capable of a particular job.