Good Practice Advice

Welcome to the

Volunteer Centre North Warwickshire Good Practice Resource Centre

**Download the 2014 Good Practice Guide Here**

North Warwickshire’s Community Hubs can click here for more information.

As part of our commitment to providing organisations with good quality resources and advice we have this part of our website to help local community groups and charities find the information they need to run projects and events across North Warwickshire.

Information Sheets Good Practice Templates

You can use this page to find out about what to do before working with volunteers, recruiting volunteers, inducting volunteers, training and supporting volunteers, as well as lots more useful information to help you in the work you do. We’ve set out a short guide to working with volunteering below. If you just want a specific piece of information or can’t find what you’re looking for, click here to contact a member of our team.

Working with volunteers – A quick guide

Before you’ve even started thinking about involving volunteers, ask yourself the question – what is volunteering? Check out this handy ‘Definition of Volunteering’ guide for more information.

Before you work with volunteers

  • Register with the Volunteer Centre here and then ask for some support.
  • You should create a volunteer policy – check out our policy here.
  • You should decide on whether you are paying expenses to volunteers. You can read our information sheet on volunteer expenses here.
  • You should check your insured to work with volunteers, more information can be found here
  • Volunteers have a right to work in a safe environment. Make sure your organisation has a health and safety policy. For more information check out our handy guide here.
  • Draft a volunteer agreement so volunteers are aware of their role in your organisation, a template agreement can be found here. If you’re recruiting a volunteer driver read this document before going any further.
  • You must remember that the volunteer agreement can not be an employment contract. Read this guide to make sure you don’t create one.
  • Draft a volunteer role description, for tips and advice on how to do this click here. Then register your opportunity with the Volunteer Centre by clicking here. We’ll even take a look at the draft description for you, call  01827 717 073 to talk through the role you’re looking to fill.
  • You’ll need to think about whether the role you’re recruiting for will require volunteers to have a DBS check (formally CRB). More information on DBS checks and volunteers can be found by clicking here. If a potential volunteer does have a criminal record, what do you do? Read this guide for more information.
  • Think about how your local community find out about information, is their a parish newsletter, a local paper, a local free magazine? What community websites are there? Get in touch with everyone involved in the local media. Our Publicity and Partnership Coordaintor, Michelle, will be more than happy to help. Email her by clicking here.
  • Think about locations in the parish where you can put up posters and give out leaflets. Get in touch with Michelle, our Publicity and Partnership Coordinator for help with your marketing material. Click here to email Michelle today.

Recruiting Volunteers

  • Your volunteer policy should contain information on your volunteer recruitment process. Make sure you follow it so that every volunteer has the same experience.
  • Ideally you should ask volunteers to fill in a short application form (Template Here), then you should ask them to come in for a one to one chat about the role. Think about some questions you would like to ask beforehand, make them feel welcome and show them around the facilities. Often you need volunteers more than they need you, so it’s important to sell your organisation and project as an innovative and exciting project that is really helping the local community. Some volunteers who are on state benefits might have concerns about how volunteering will affect them, this guide should answer most of those questions.
  • After the intial chat its down to your volunteer policy on what you do next but you really should be asking for two references. We’ve got a template references request form here which your more than welcome to use. Once they’ve been returned and are satisfactory you can invite the volunteer for an induction.
  • Make sure you keep a record of the volunteers registration form and references. You should also keep an emergency contact for them on site. All this information should be kept in a secure location, read this guide for more information on data protection.

Inducting Volunteers

  • The induction process has a very simple aim, to let volunteers know about the building, your organisation, other volunteers and staff and the processes that you use on a daily basis to keep the organisation running.
  • Ideally you should have a little document with your organisations contact details on, opening times, information on fire safety, health and safety etc.  Why not take a look at our Volunteer Policy by clicking here?
  • Your organisation might require volunteers to sign a confidentiality agreement if you hold or process personal information about others. We’ve prepared a template form here.

Training and Supporting Volunteers

  • On going training and support is vital to get the most benefit from working with volunteers. If you want advice about providing your own training or getting someone in to help get in touch with Martin on 01827 717073.
  • Make sure you inform the volunteers about training sessions run by external organisations.
  • It might also be useful to get volunteers to go through the UK Online courses that can be found at www.learnmyway.com
  • Supporting volunteers throughout their time with your organisation is vital. Some organisations hold one to one meetings with their volunteers every 2 or 3 months, others hold monthly or quarterly team meetings. How you do it is up to you but doing something to support volunteers is vital. Some organisations send a weekly email update to their volunteers with the latest news and updates from the centre, this helps keep volunteers informed and makes them feel more involved in the work the organisation does.
  • Finally you might want to consider a noticeboard or folder where you keep information and training posters so volunteers know where to look when they come in to the office.
  • Remember to thank your volunteers, they’re more likely to stay at your organisation if they feel appreciated. There’s a useful guide to thanking volunteers here.

Finally you might want to review your volunteer programme, this useful guide explains everything you need to know about monitoring and evaluating your volunteer programme.