Managing Volunteers


Posted in Managing Volunteers

pic training00Whether you involve 1 or 1,000 volunteers, your organisation needs to ensure it manages volunteers effectively - and by that, we mean everything from how an individual volunteer fits in and works along side paid staff (if you have them) to creating and maintaining extended volunteer programmes. Central to any successful volunteering programme, big or small, is effective volunteer management.  

Below you can find details of our four module Volunteer Management Training Course. 

This four module (which can also be run as 4 modules over 2 full days or 4 modules over 4 evenings / mornings) is delivered in a hands-on, participative style and is designed to provide you with a best practice volunteer management framework for involving volunteers in your organisation.  Westmeath Volunteer Centre offer a wide range of volunteer management training tools for your organisation.

If you have gained some of these skills and would like to have further training on a specific volunteer management topic please contact us in Westmeath Volunteer Centre and we can carry out a volunteer management training needs assessment for your organisation and deliver bespoke training specific to your organisation.

Module 1: 
Planning for Volunteer Involvement 

  • Preparing for volunteer involvement
  • Volunteer motivations
  • Identifying and developing volunteer role descriptions

Module 2: 
Volunteer Recruitment and Selection

  • Effective advertising
  • Screening techniques
  • Applications
  • Interviews and volunteer selection


Module 3: 
Day-to-Day Management of Volunteers

  • Induction and volunteer agreements
  • Support and supervision
  • Recognition
  • Resolving difficult situations
  • Exit interviews

Module 4: 
Designing a Policy for Volunteer Involvement

  • Defining policy
  • Designing a volunteer policy document

It is expected that participants will attend all four modules as they are designed as part of a continuum.

This course can however be delivered directly to any group (minimum number of participants required).  

Please email us for further information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Further Reading

Posted in Managing Volunteers

Below are some suggested reading materials for those in the field of volunteer management. In addition you might want to visit the USA volunteer management website which has an excellent online bookstore. As expected you can purchase a hard copy of most of the books below or in many cases you can download a copy of the books.
  • Volunteer Management Mobilizing all the Resources of the Community, by Steve McCurley and Rick Lynch
  • From The Top Down - The Executive Role in Volunteer Program Success by Susan J. Ellis 
  • No Surprises - Harmonizing Risk & Reward in Volunteer Management by Melanie L. Herman and Peggy M. Jackson
  • Training Busy Staff to Succeed with Volunteers: The 55-Minute Staff Training Series (Complete Set: Book and CD) by Betty Stallings
  • Handling problem volunteers by Steve McCurley and Sue Vineyard
  • The Quick Reference Guide To Effective Volunteer Involvement by Linda L. Graff
  • Keeping volunteers - a guide to retention by Steve McCurley and Rick Lynch
  • Volunteer Management: An Essential Guide, 2nd edition by Joy Noble, Luoise Rogers, and Andy Fryar
  • What We Learned (the Hard Way) about Supervising Volunteers: An Action Guide to Making Your Job Easier by Jarene Frances Lee and Julia M. Catabnus
  • Beyond Police Checks by Linda L. Graff
  • Better Safe... by Linda L. Graff

Reasons Volunteers Leave

Posted in Managing Volunteers

Reasons People Leave Volunteering Unexpectedly

  • Because no-one knows their name
  • Because they do not know how to tell you they want to leave
  • Because they made a suggestion that was not acted upon or responded to
  • Because the atmosphere feels impersonal, tense or cold
  • Because the physical environment does not support their efforts
  • Because no one smiles at them
  • Because they feel under-utilised
  • Because the reality does not meet their expectations
  • Because they feel treated more as an interruption than a welcome help
  • Because veteran / long-term volunteers do not include them ‘inside’ the group
  • Because they see no connection between one day’s work and another
  • Because they do not see how the work they are doing benefits the organisation and it’s service users

Support and Supervision

Posted in Managing Volunteers

Volunteer Support and Supervision

Providing support and supervision to your volunteers is key to the ongoing success of your volunteer programme. Ideally each volunteer should have a named supervisor. They should have easy access to this person so preferably it will be someone they work with on a regular basis. The supervisor is the person with responsibility for assigning tasks to the volunteer, providing guidance on a day-to-day basis and providing official support and supervision meetings. Remember, support is about the person while supervision is about the task. Any meeting should focus on both these aspects: 1) Support which is defined as “The interest, understanding and care which is provided for volunteers, which keeps them going all the time and additionally in times of crisis and enables them to satisfy their needs and those of the organisation.” 2) Supervision which is defined as “A way of monitoring a volunteer’s performance to help them benefit from their placement, to make sure they are carrying out tasks appropriately, encourage problem solving and provide guidance.”*
In addition, the volunteer should be aware of whom to talk to if they have a grievance with their immediate supervisor.
*Volunteer Development Agency Northern Ireland, (2001), As Good As They Give, Workbook Three, Managing and Motivating Volunteers, p.13