1024 1024 rctadmin

Volunteering is as important as it has ever been for Third Sector groups and the communities that they support.

As Volunteer Coordinator at Interlink RCT, my role is to offer advice and guidance to these groups.  Here are some of the key things I try to share when it comes to working with volunteers.

Whether you are just getting started or have involved volunteers for some time, it’s important to get the basics right.  A great way to do this is by referring to the WCVA Code Of Practice for Organisations Involving Volunteers as a checklist for making sure everything is in order.  This includes:

Volunteer Strategy & Policy

Have you got your Volunteer Policy, is it up to date and relevant?  You can complete a Volunteer Strategy to feed into this policy and to really dig down into why you want to involve volunteers and how it will benefit your organisation, your community and the volunteers themselves.  Having a robust policy will outline the various roles and responsibilities, and provide the basic framework for volunteering within your group.

How about your safety and legal practices?  Make sure you keep your volunteers safe with the relevant risk assessments, insurance and safeguarding practices too.

Volunteer Recruitment & Management

Identify who will support and supervise volunteers – Are they equipped to do this well with the necessary skills, training and capacity?  This is crucial for welcoming new volunteers and then retaining them over time.

  • Offer induction, ongoing check-ins and training to volunteers.
  • Offer reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses to ensure your volunteers can access the opportunities.
  • Volunteer Satisfaction: Record and publicise the impact of your volunteers so that they can see how their work makes a difference.  Ask for volunteers’ feedback and involve them in decision making, including how you thank them and celebrate them.  It might be a cup of tea and cake, or it might be a training opportunity – asking and listening is key.

Advertising your opportunities

Volunteers can only help if they know the opportunities exist!  Advertise these in your venue with posters and flyers, and promote them online on Connect RCT and Volunteering Wales.  To do this, you’ll need to clearly communicate what it is like to volunteer within your group and what the benefits are.

  • Set out the tasks and activities that volunteers can get involved with, and include these in your volunteer adverts, along with any other details such as expenses and support. Doing this will appeal to prospective volunteers’ motivations and will define the boundaries between volunteering and paid work.
  • We have learned from the Time Well Spent 2023 Survey that more people are seeking flexible and informal opportunities now, so consider how you can cater to these wishes too. The Survey report is a very insightful tool for improving volunteer participation and experience.

A useful resource covering all of the above and more, is WCVA’s section on Volunteering Principles and Getting Started and Interlink RCT can support you to get the most out of those resources and implement them in your organisation.

We can also help you further with:

  • Understanding and completing funded volunteer DBS checks.
  • Digital support on Connect RCT and Volunteering Wales.
  • Volunteer Training (such as Food Hygiene)
  • Support with budgeting for volunteer expenses and accessing relevant grants.
  • Local Networks for sharing knowledge and opportunities.