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Volunteer Management

Steps to establish a volunteer management program

In order for an organization to be able to manage its volunteers coherently, it is necessary to establish a logical, organized and uniform sequence of recruitment, selection, training, follow-up, motivation, recognition and evaluation.

To be able to include different visions within the organization, the Volunteer Management Program must be designed with the input of all members who work or are going to work with the volunteers.

It is important to mention that every volunteer program must have a coordinator within the organization that will be the staff member who will perform the following tasks: 

  • Coordinate the Volunteer Program. 
  • Maintaining the coherence of the Programme: establishing policies and ensuring their implementation. 
  • Provide volunteers with information, training, recognition and evaluation. 
  • Maintain fluid communication channels between volunteers and staff. 



Prior to the recruitment of volunteers, the social organization must analyse internally what tasks it needs to perform and whether it has sufficient human resources to carry them out. Once the need has been established, the organization will be able to provide a complete and detailed job description, on the basis of which it will draw up the profile of the volunteer required.

Recruitment can be done by various means: solidarity pages of newspapers, e-mail, web advertisements, talks or conferences where the search is announced, etc. It is also important to note that if the organization already has volunteers, they will be a very important channel for capturing new wills.

After drawing up a list of all those who have approached the organization, a group meeting should be held. Its main objectives will be to clearly describe the organization’s mission and objectives; detail the tasks for which they have been summoned and thank them for their willingness to participate.

In order to be able to carry out a coherent Volunteer Programme, it is important to have a uniform group. If a person is detected who does not agree with the organization, he or she should be directed to offer collaboration in another institution according to his or her tastes and needs. This not only benefits the organization but also the person who, if incorporated, will sooner or later feel disillusioned and expelled from the group.

The next step to the group meeting is the individual interview where the volunteer coordinator should try to respond to all the applicant’s concerns. These types of interviews serve to detect skills and talents, and to be able to perform a better derivation of tasks.

Once the volunteer has been selected, the next step will be their incorporation, for which it is very important to socialize with the mission of the organization, with the other members of the volunteer group and with the staff.



Through training, it is possible to consolidate a homogeneous work team, delegate responsibilities and represent the organization.

It is advisable to organize meetings or courses inviting specialists, to promote the reading of instructive publications, to disseminate useful information, to organize meetings to study different topics and to organize a data bank.

Establish an environment in which training is valued and provide several different learning instances, attract and retain large numbers of volunteers.



Once assigned the task, the volunteer must clearly distinguish who he reports to in the development of his work. This person must be available for any consultation by the volunteer. 

It is essential to emphasize that volunteers and staff will be partners in the success of the task or programme they undertake, which is why it is important for the volunteer coordinator to foster a good relationship between the two. 

When volunteers are considered an important resource, the staff becomes aware of the importance of maintaining them, recognizing them and consulting the volunteer coordinator in case of any inconvenience.



It is essential to note that motivation does not arise automatically, for this reason it must be planned without becoming artificial.

Motivation strengthens the sense of belonging, so the organization must be attentive not only to the needs of its direct beneficiaries but also to those of the volunteers.

A fundamental part of motivation is recognition of voluntary work.

In order to maintain motivation, it is essential that the volunteer find a reference within the organization. Someone to restrain it and turn to in times of distress or frustration.



Many organizations consider that the voluntary resource should not be evaluated because subjecting people who are not paid for the work, they do would be too demanding. 

Volunteers, however, have the right to be evaluated and to know how they are performing. On the other hand, the organization should know if it is guiding volunteers correctly and if they are making good use of the resource.

At the end of the year it is advisable to have a group meeting where achievements and deficiencies of the group are identified. It is also good to have an individual meeting with each volunteer so that the coordinator can point out what needs to be improved.

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