The toolkit has been designed to give volunteer managers some guidance with developing their volunteer programme. There are a number of steps to follow, even before the recruitment process starts, and continues with on-going support.


Consider the following questions

• Why do you want volunteers?
• Do you have the resources to work with volunteers?
• What skills do you want your volunteers to bring?
• What will volunteers do and not do, and why?
• Are you adapting to the trends and issues facing volunteering today?
• Have you considered diversity with your volunteer programme?
• How will volunteers ‘fit in’ with your existing structure?
• When setting up or expanding a volunteer programme how will you involve existing staff and/or volunteer?
• Have you considered possible problem areas and what to do if they occur e.g. how will you say ‘no’ to unsuitable volunteers?
• Have you thought about the legal responsibilities regarding volunteers?
• Is there a pro-volunteer culture within your organisation?

Your Volunteer Programme will consist of a range of documents, policies and procedures that clearly set out your organisation’s position in relation to volunteers. It will deal with all aspects of involving volunteers: the recruitment, screening, induction, training, and their ongoing support.

Some of the following may already exist in your Volunteer Programme:

• Volunteers policy
• Health & safety policy
• Equal opportunities policy
• Expenses policy
• Confidentiality policy
• Appropriate insurance cover
• Risk assessment for the role
• Role description/s
• Screening procedures
• Volunteers application form
• Volunteers agreement
• Induction/ongoing training programme
• Reviews/appraisals
• Problem solving procedures


• Risk Assessment – explore the potential risks of volunteers working with service users and the steps that will help minimise harm to either party.

• Design a volunteer application form requesting information that will help you discover their skills and assess their motivation for volunteering.

• Think about interviewing potential volunteers-an informal discussion where the organisation can have face to face contact with a volunteer.

• Will you do CRB checks? If you need to do this, consider how your will manage the findings and action take as a result.

• It is recommended that you obtain character references for each volunteer. Think about who you would accept a reference from.

• A trial period may be beneficial for both parties, think about how long it should be.

• Publicity and Promotion – When writing your recruitment message include the benefits that volunteers will gain, and ensure you address people’s fears e.g. how much time will need to commit? Will they have the necessary skills etc


Think about the induction process for your volunteers
• Have you provided an understanding of the aims and objectives of your organisation?

• Is the volunteer aware of your policies, practices and procedures?

• Have you provided them with all necessary information and equipment in order for them to carry out the role?

• Are they aware of the needs of your client group along with the limitations and boundaries of their volunteering role?

• Do you introduce a trial period with a review at the end of it for the both parties to be able to share their views?

• Are you offering appropriate on-going training?


Once you have recruited your volunteer, here are some questions to help you ensure that their experience and yours is a positive one.

• Who will be directly responsible for the volunteer?

• Plan for reviews – design review forms and set time aside to give useful and constructive feedback

• Find out what motivates the individual to volunteer, (each one of us is different) and try to develop the role appropriately

• How will you check that your volunteer is happy in their role?

• Think about how you can recognise, reward and thank your volunteers