Volunteer Management

Article modified: March 2017, Author:


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)

Recruiting and Managing Volunteers

See our Volunteering Opportunities page for online listing services/apps, other volunteering agencies, pro bono brokers etc.

Online Volunteering

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.”

Help from Home

Organisations for Volunteer Managers

Slightly different is the Association of Independent Volunteer Centres, a collaboration of five volunteer centres in Northern Ireland.

Training and skills for Volunteer Managers

As well as short courses provided on relevant subjects by most of the umbrella bodies listed in the first section on this page, and those listed on our short courses page, check out:

Volunteer Management Software

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.

VolSoft, an American outfit, produces The Volunteer Reporter, which has been mentioned on UKVPM as worth checking.

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.



Further Resources

More information on the web

American/International

Volunteer Management Issues

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.

For legal issues see Volunteers section under Legal matters, or Volunteer expenses.

Older volunteers

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.

Connected articles (by tag)

Tags:

2 thoughts on “Volunteer Management”

  1. Hello there. Here are a few useful resources for Volunteer Management, including an on-line Introduction to Managing Volunteers, information about the ILM Level 5 qualification, plus a monthly blog and discussion tweet chat for anyone working with and managing volunteers…

    http://managersofvolunteers.com/index.html
    https://www.warringtonva.org.uk/support/excellence-volunteer-management-l5
    https://medium.com/@vmmovement

    Hope this is helpful – would be great if you could add to the resources here – thank you :)

  2. There is also Volunteer Friendly Award http://www.volunteerfriendly.org.uk licensed to be delivered by 26 Third Sector Interfaces in Scotland. It is based on IiV and is a quality standard in best practice in volunteer management . Developed in 2009 by Volunteer Centre Dundee and over 300 organisations in Scotland have achieved it.

Please add your comments and suggestions