A Volunteer Policy is a document outlining the basis of your volunteer programme and underpinning all your operations that include or affect volunteers.
A Volunteer Policy demonstrates to everyone that you are committed to fair and consistent practices in your dealings with volunteers. It also defines their role within your organisation and protects them from unfair treatment.
Taking on volunteers in your group can be a big commitment, and given the importance of the volunteer’s contribution you must ensure that a structure or framework is in place to support the volunteers and staff in their work together.
Having a framework will make your life easier – making sure that everything is clear and well managed. There are a lot of things that you might want to take into account when considering a framework for involving volunteers but the best way of pulling all this together and ensuring that it really informs your practice is by developing a Volunteering Policy.
The details of your Volunteer Policy will vary depending on your own group or organisation. Often in real life, the volunteers come first and the policy is developed afterwards. While it is easier if you consider how you are going to manage your volunteers before you recruit them, if you already have them working for you, then developing a Volunteer Policy is a good way of making sure that you have everything covered.
Your Volunteer Policy should be a working document and not just a random list that is drafted and stuck in the back of a cupboard.