Volunteers are the life's blood of so many organizations. It is  important to have strong policies in place and be consistent in the implementation of those policies when it comes to making sure your volunteers feel valued and safe, as well as ensuring your clients feel valued and safe with your volunteers.  

Policies and Procedures

Let's not adhere to those myths that "volunteers are free" and "anyone can manage volunteers". Having the right policies in place can mean the difference between a successful volunteer program and one that costs your organization more than you realize.

Charity Village provides an Overview of things your board and management should consider when creating policies for volunteers. Click here to view their page. Does your organization have a Risk Management Policy? Different laws apply for volunteers than for employees when it comes to on-the-job injuries. The Nonprofit Risk Management Center offers this free online tool entitled, No Surprises Volunteer Risk Management Tutorial.

Recruitment and Screening

Has your organization dedicated to employing a permanent Volunteer Coordinator? This study on Volunteer Management from King County United Way may provide some insight into why good volunteer management is so crucial.  How can Volunteer Coordinator's develop a workable volunteer program? Beth Kanter weighs in with her Networked Nonprofit thoughts on Volunteers via Beth's Blog.

Does your organization have a plan for Screening, Selecting, and Matching Volunteers? Idealist.org provides some good advice on these three topics on their site.

Training and Retention

Has your organization devised a strategy for retaining, recognizing and supporting volunteers? Energize, Inc. provides resources on a variety of volunteer issues here including Volunteer Retention and Support. Volunteer Power provides skills, training and confidence in recruiting, motivating and managing the 21st century volunteer.

Each organization has its own unique mission. Some volunteers must undergo certification, others may have to learn facts and figures as ambassadors, docents and any of a number of hands-on tasks for your nonprofit.  Has your organization developed a curriculum/manual for training volunteers? Because each organization is unique. We suggest seeking out nonprofits with similar missions and contacting them about their training procedures. DOVIA - Directors of Volunteers in Agencies - is an organization dedicated to providing opportunites for networking and training for volunteer coordinators, volunteer managers, volunteer administrators, plus any organizations, companies and individuals who work with volunteers. Contact our Northwest Ohio chapter at directorsofvolunteersnwo@gmail.com for a list of resources and upcoming networking meetings.

Seeking Volunteer Opportunities?

  • Points of Light Foundation - This Foundation’s mission is to engage more people and resources more effectively in volunteer service to help solve serious social problems.
  • Volunteer Match - Volunteer opportunities posted to this sight will also post to DoSomething.org, Change.org, REI.com, Seventeen.com, CMT.com and Yahoo.com.
  • Learn How to Become.org  - This site offers a guide to volunteering including "finding your volunteer focus" and tips on international volunteering. 

Seeking Interns?

Our local colleges and universities provide student interns at low or no cost with a variety of expertise in content areas from social work to accounting. Contact department chairs to ask about service learning/internship opportunities or visit the links below for more information.

Bowling Green State University

University of Toledo

Lourdes University


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