Involving Volunteers

Community groups involve volunteers in a variety of ways. Some are comprised entirely of volunteers.  Some organisations inherit volunteers by default. Not every group or organisation will be happy about involving volunteers – others simply cannot get enough of them.

Why would your group involve volunteers?

For any group or organisation to build a successful framework which engages and supports volunteers, everyone from the Trustees (who after all are volunteers themselves) to a paid member of staff (who may not have any contact with volunteers) needs to understand the reasons why involving volunteers is a positive thing and how it can help your group.

Involving volunteers:

  • helps forge strong links between the group and the community

  • means your group can use them as ambassadors for your cause

  • engages supporters/funders/stakeholders

  • offers a different and unique relationship with your clients that paid staff may not be able to (such as mentoring or befriending)

  • relieves staff pressures

The benefits volunteers bring

Understanding the benefits that volunteers bring, can really help everyone in the group understand why volunteering is so important.

Benefits of involving volunteers might include:

  • enhancement of your services

  • ability to provide a more flexible service

  • support for staff to provide more services

  • support with events – such as fundraising and awareness raising

  • bringing diversity to the organisation

  • bringing a new perspective to your group or organisation

When it is clear why your group involves volunteers and what benefits that brings, it is important to reflect this in your group’s core values and aims:

  • is the value and benefit of involving volunteers reflected in the purpose and mission statement of your organisation? If not should it be?

  • are you communicating the importance of volunteers to your paid staff, committees, volunteers, users and the general public?

  • you may wish to consider reflecting these values in your practices, publicity and written materials produced by your organisation:- for example, annual reports, strategic plans, publicity.

Why not schedule 10 minutes at your next board meeting to ask your Directors or Trustees these questions?