Writing a volunteer policy

A well-defined volunteer policy is the cornerstone of effective volunteer management. A comprehensive volunteer policy not only streamlines the volunteering process but also ensures clarity and consistency in how volunteers are involved. This guide aims to provide a step-by-step approach to creating a volunteer policy that aligns with your organisation's ethos and enhances the volunteer experience.

The importance of a volunteer policy

Establishing clear expectations

A volunteer policy sets out clear expectations for both the organisation and the volunteers. It outlines the roles, responsibilities, and the scope of work, thereby minimising misunderstandings and setting the stage for a fruitful collaboration.

Enhancing organisational structure

A well-written volunteer policy contributes to the structural integrity of the organisation. It ensures that the involvement of volunteers is in line with the organisation's mission and legal obligations.

Key elements of an effective volunteer policy

Mission and values alignment

The policy should begin with an overview of the organisation's mission and how volunteers contribute to achieving these goals. This alignment with the organisation's values encourages a deeper connection and commitment from the volunteers.

Roles and responsibilities

Clearly defined volunteer roles and responsibilities are crucial. This section should detail the specific tasks volunteers are expected to perform, along with any qualifications or skills required.

Recruitment and selection process

Outline the process for recruiting volunteers. This includes application procedures, interviews, background checks, and any training or induction programmes.

Policies and procedures

Include policies on important issues like equal opportunities, health and safety, confidentiality, and data protection. Clearly articulate the procedures for addressing grievances and disciplinary actions.

Support and development

Highlight the support available to volunteers, including training, supervision, and opportunities for feedback. Mention any personal development opportunities, such as skills training or mentoring programmes.

Recognition and rewards

Describe how the organisation recognises and rewards the contributions of volunteers. This could range from formal awards to informal acknowledgements like thank-you events or letters.

Implementing and reviewing the volunteer policy

Communication and accessibility

Ensure the volunteer policy is easily accessible and communicated to all volunteers. Regular updates and clear communication channels are vital for an effective policy.

Regular reviews and updates

A volunteer policy should be a living document, regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the organisation, legal requirements, or the volunteering sector.


A robust volunteer policy is essential for the smooth functioning of any volunteer programme. It establishes clear guidelines, aligns volunteers with the organisation's mission, and ensures a supportive environment for everyone involved. By investing time and resources into crafting a comprehensive volunteer policy, organisations can maximise the benefits of their volunteer programmes, contributing significantly to their overall success and impact.

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