Advice for volunteer managers

Volunteer managers play a vital role in volunteer-involving organisations (VIOs) as it’s their responsibility to recruit, retain, train, develop, evaluate and look at the various needs of their volunteer team.

There are many different ways we can help you.

  • Developing policies and procedures. It’s important you have these in place before you take on any volunteers. Involve the whole organisation so you all have a clear vision about how volunteers will fit in with your organisation and what type of roles you want them to do. Volunteers may be line managed by other members of staff so it is important everyone is dedicated to your volunteer programme.
  • Developing and promoting roles. The role you promote will be your marketing tool. It’s important you get the right recruitment message across to potential volunteers. We can also guide you to target your roles to a variety of audiences, as well as help promote them on our website and social media channels.
  • Advice on screening procedures, including application forms, references, DBS checks and where to signpost volunteers who may be unsuitable for your organisation.
  • Advice on supporting and developing your volunteers in their roles.
  • Advice on rewarding and recognising your volunteers, including our useful Reward and Recognition Toolkit.
  • Support and advice on evaluating your volunteer programme and what benefits it brings to volunteers, people using services and the organisation as a whole.
  • Promote your opportunities on our dedicated volunteer-matching website. If you have any questions about the volunteering website, or would like further guidance, please email:

Keep scrolling down for more information

You can access one-to-one support and network meetings through CWVA

YouGov’s Time Well Spent survey asked 10,000 volunteers what makes a quality volunteer experience and there were eight key themes:

  • Inclusiveness – it needs to be easy for everyone to get involved.
  • Flexibility – try to take volunteer needs and time constraints into account.
  • Impactful – show volunteers they’re making a difference through recognition and developing their skills.
  • Connected – make sure volunteers feel part of the organisation and have a voice, with opportunities to meet others.
  • Balanced – make sure volunteers don’t feel overburdened and volunteer processes aren’t over bureaucratic.
  • Enjoyable – volunteers should look forward to it.
  • Voluntary – volunteers shouldn’t be staff replacements.
  • Meaningful – volunteer roles should resonate with what matters to the person.

This may feel like a big ask from volunteers, but it’s important to get it right if you want to attract and retain a great volunteer team. It’s a balancing act for all volunteer managers and no easy feat.

Useful links and resources

A handy video guide to using The Volunteer Platform Benefits of a Volunteer Strategy Plan Volunteer Strategy Plan Template Volunteers and the law Families Together toolkit NCVO: Families and volunteering Reward and Recognition Toolkit Association of Volunteer Managers Volunteers' Week Volunteer management toolkit 5 Strategies for Retaining Volunteers Tips for writing role descriptions NCVO Investing in Volunteers Essentials diagnostic tool DBS useful facts NCVO Involving Volunteers

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