In the UK, 90% of registered charities are completely run by volunteers and have no paid staff. Therefore, whatever the organisation, volunteers play an important role in enabling the charity to do its job. From specialised skills to fundraising, every volunteer has their role to play, so what is the process for managing these people?
There are websites where you can advertise for volunteers, and these can be any age from school children to parents and family members or retired people. Volunteer vacancies are also advertised in local jobcentres. It is important that the volunteers are aware of their role and the support they can get from the organisation. A written role description can make it clear what is expected of them and what their expectations will be. Volunteers need to feel confident that the organisation has correct procedures in place and that the time they donate is well spent and valued.
Volunteers are not paid for their services, but are entitled to any travel expenses incurred. They are also entitled to protective clothing or any other essential equipment they need to achieve their role, plus any telephone or postal charges incurred if working from home.
Any volunteers working with children need to be checked out through a basic DBS (http://www.carecheck.co.uk/basic-dbs-checks/), where any criminal records and unsuitability are confirmed.
Every volunteer should be covered by the charity’s insurance, in case of any injury or incident which may take place.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities and without them, many charities would not be able to function. Estimates suggest that 15.2 million people volunteer in the UK at least once a month for various charities and around 23 million volunteer once a year. That is a great number of people doing great work for the sake of their communities, through fundraising, sponsored walks, cake stalls, bring and buy and hundreds of other events. Volunteering your time and expertise can be very rewarding. It gets you out and about meeting new people and trying out new experiences.
There are also volunteer programs and projects where you can help in more than 30 countries, with projects ranging from teaching, conservation, community and health care, giving you the chance to travel and see the world whilst helping communities less fortunate than yours.