How to start a volunteer program

How to start a volunteer program

The key things to consider when starting a volunteer program:

  • Define your volunteer program
  • Set clear goals and objectives
  • Identify your target audience and volunteers
  • Create volunteer roles and responsibilities
  • Develop a recruitment strategy
People cleaning rubbish from nature

Why start a volunteer program?

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of starting a volunteer program, let's understand the compelling reasons why you should embark on this wonderful journey. By establishing a volunteer program, you can foster increased community engagement, expand your reach and impact, access additional resources, and build a positive image for your organisation. Moreover, volunteer programs have proven to be highly effective in addressing social issues and creating lasting change. Let's explore the immense benefits together!

Defining your volunteer program

Now that you're motivated to start a volunteer program, it's crucial to define its purpose, mission, and scope. By aligning your program with your organisation's goals and values, you ensure coherence and establish a strong foundation for success. Let's define your program and set the stage for meaningful impact.

Setting clear goals and objectives

To steer your volunteer program towards success, it's essential to set clear and measurable goals. These goals will serve as guiding beacons, keeping your program on track and helping you track progress effectively. Let's set our sights on achievable goals and lay the groundwork for success.

Identifying target audience and volunteers

Knowing your target audience is crucial for the success of your volunteer program. Take the time to understand their motivations, interests, and demographics to tailor your program to their needs. Additionally, let's explore effective strategies to attract and recruit a diverse group of passionate volunteers. Together, we'll build a community of change-makers.

Creating volunteer roles and responsibilities

In order to make your volunteer program thrive, it's important to define clear roles and responsibilities. By providing volunteers with specific tasks that align with your program's objectives, you enhance their engagement and productivity. Let's create a framework where each volunteer knows their vital role in making a difference.

Developing a recruitment strategy

Now that your program structure is taking shape, it's time to focus on recruitment. Developing a robust recruitment strategy will ensure you attract dedicated individuals who are passionate about your cause. We'll explore various channels, from online platforms to community outreach, and discover how to effectively promote the impact and benefits of your program. Let's spread the word and ignite the passion for volunteering.

Training and orientation

Equipping your volunteers with the necessary skills and knowledge is crucial for a successful program. Training and orientation sessions provide a solid foundation and a sense of belonging for your volunteers. Let's discuss the importance of comprehensive training and orientation, ensuring that each volunteer is empowered to make a meaningful contribution.

Effective communication

Clear and effective communication is the lifeblood of any volunteer program. Establishing channels for timely updates, active listening, and transparent dialogue is essential for fostering a supportive environment. Let's discover the power of communication in building strong connections with your volunteers.

Recognising and appreciating volunteers

Appreciation goes a long way in sustaining the dedication and enthusiasm of your volunteers. It's important to recognise and celebrate their contributions, whether through volunteer thank you messages, awards, certificates, or appreciation events. Together, let's create a culture of gratitude and ensure that our volunteers feel valued every step of the way.

Managing volunteers and volunteer feedback

Managing volunteers involves creating an environment where they can thrive and contribute effectively. Providing ongoing support, resolving conflicts, and encouraging feedback are essential aspects of volunteer management. We'll explore strategies to ensure a positive experience for both volunteers and program coordinators. Let's foster a supportive and collaborative community.

Monitoring and evaluation

To continuously improve your volunteer program, it's important to monitor its effectiveness and evaluate the impact of your efforts. By collecting feedback and tracking progress towards your goals, you can make data-driven improvements and ensure the program's sustainability. Let's measure our progress and celebrate the positive changes we're making together.

Overcoming challenges

Every endeavour faces challenges, and starting a volunteer program is no exception. But fear not, we're here to help you overcome these hurdles. From volunteer burnout to limited resources, we'll discuss common challenges and provide strategies to navigate them successfully. Let's turn obstacles into opportunities for growth.

Impact and benefits of volunteer programs

It's time to reflect on the incredible impact and benefits that volunteer programs bring to individuals, organisations, and communities. From personal growth and skill development to creating lasting social change, volunteering leaves a profound impact on all involved. Together, let's unlock the immense power of volunteerism.


Congratulations! You've embarked on a journey towards starting your own volunteer program. By following these steps and incorporating your passion and dedication, you can create a program that makes a real difference in your community. Remember, starting a volunteer program is a meaningful endeavour that requires commitment, effective management, and continuous improvement. Let's take action and create a better world together.


Here are some frequently asked questions about starting a volunteer program:

Can I volunteer if I have limited skills or experience?

Absolutely! Volunteer programs often have roles suitable for individuals with various skill levels and experiences. Many organisations provide training and support to help volunteers contribute effectively.

Are there age restrictions for volunteering?

Age restrictions may vary based on the program and organisation's policies. Some programs welcome volunteers of all ages, while others may have minimum age requirements. Check with the organisation to find out specific guidelines.

Can volunteering enhance my career prospects?

Volunteering can indeed enhance your career prospects. It allows you to develop new skills, gain practical experience, and demonstrate your commitment to social causes. It can also provide networking opportunities and references for future employment.

What is the first step in developing a volunteer program?

The first step in developing a volunteer program is conducting a needs assessment to identify your organisation's volunteer requirements, goals, and available resources.

What are the 3 types of volunteerism?

The three types of volunteerism are episodic volunteering (short-term and project-based), ongoing volunteering (regular and sustained commitment), and virtual volunteering (remotely contributing skills and time).

What are the 5 core values of a volunteer?

The five core values of a volunteer are compassion, integrity, teamwork, dedication, and respect.

What is a volunteer program strategy?

A volunteer program strategy refers to a comprehensive plan that outlines the goals, objectives, and approaches for effectively engaging, managing, and retaining volunteers in an organisation.

Want to volunteer but don't know where to get started? Download our app for volunteering today and find a range of volunteering opportunities near you!

Book a demo with us to see how we are revolutionising volunteer management.

Book Demo