We have put together a series of resources for both organisations and volunteers to help them during the response to COVID-19.
Returning to Volunteering Safely
Practical Advice for Volunteer Involving Organisations
Ireland is gradually re-opening our economy and our society. It is vital we continue to adhere to the rules for this new way of living to continue to suppress the spread of COVID-19. The safety and well-being of volunteers and those they help is paramount. This resource contains practical advice that should be used as a guide to support volunteer involving organisations to put measures in place that will allow volunteering to resume safely and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Individual organisations can use it to develop their own protocols.
This resource also includes a number of templates, you can download editable versions of these templates here:
Download ‘Pre-Return to Volunteer Risk Assessment COVID-19’ template
Download ‘Return to Volunteer – Induction Meeting COVID-19’ template
Download ‘Volunteer Programme Sample COVID-19 Action Plan’ template
Guides & Resources for Volunteers
What to expect when volunteering during a crisis
We encourage all organisations to implement best practice in volunteer management but we know that’s not always possible in times of emergencies. However, it is still important for organisations to support their volunteers and ensure their safety at all times. This short guide outlines what you can expect while volunteering during an emergency or crisis.
Guide to informal volunteering
During times of crisis, it is natural for communities to self organise in response tho those in need. This is what’s known as informal volunteering – as opposed to volunteering with an established organisation. This short guide explains what to keep in mind in these situation for both volunteers and voluntary groups.
Volunteering safely during COVID-19
Looking after your own health and safety and stopping the spread of COVID-19 are the number one priorities at this time. If you are well enough and you wish to volunteer, you should follow these guidelines to volunteering safely during COVID-19.
Your wellbeing while volunteering during COVID-19
It’s important to look after our mental health and wellbeing at all times but even more so during times of increased stress and worry like the COVID-19 emergency. If you are volunteering during this time, make sure that you are minding your own wellbeing. To help you do this we’ve developed a quick guide with some advice and tips in partnership with Mental Health Ireland.
Guides & Resources for Organisations and Groups
Rejuvenating your volunteer programme
Some volunteer programmes are not currently operating or have been curtailed, others have fundamentally changed or expanded since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteer managers may find it challenging that a programme they successfully delivered for a number of years can no longer operate due to COVID-19. However, this time can present an opportunity to reflect on the operation of your volunteer programme.
Volunteer management in an emergency
Whether you are an experienced volunteer manager or you are managing volunteers for the first time, volunteer management during an emergency can be very different. This short guide sets out things you should expect and be aware of when managing volunteers during a crisis.
Supporting Volunteer Wellbeing During An Emergency
While it’s always important for a volunteer manager to support the wellbeing of their volunteers, this role is more vital than ever during an emergency. Together with Mental Health Ireland, we have put together some tips and advice for helping your volunteers manage stress and mind their mental health and wellbeing during times of crisis. The tips are also useful for volunteer managers themselves who should make sure to be aware of their own needs and stresses during this time.
Volunteer Screening and Garda Vetting
Any organisation that involves volunteers will need to make an informed decision about who it will and will not accept as a volunteer. An emergency, such as COVID-19, is not a time to relax or ignore volunteer screening – it is more important now than ever! In some cases, this means that volunteers will need to be Garda vetted. Currently the National Vetting Bureau are prioritising the processing of vetting applications related to COVID-19 – just make sure to put COVID-19 in the role title. We have created a simple guide to screening and Garda vetting to make the process as easy as possible.
Template: Code of Conduct
Organisations should provide volunteers with a Code of Conduct which outlines what they expect of volunteers and what volunteers can expect of the organisation. To help with this, we have created a basic template which can be adapted by any organisation based on their needs.
Template: Volunteer Registration Form
We have created a COVID-19 specific volunteer registration form. This is a more basic version of a standard volunteer registration form with specific information around COVID-19.
Template: Risk Assessment
In times of emergencies, it is vital that organisations do not put their volunteers or service users at risk. This is particularly true in relation to COVID-19. Risk is different in each organisation but we have created a basic template to risk assess volunteer roles during COVID-19. It is important to make sure the level of risk assigned aligns with the risk/hazard. This can be downloaded and adapted to the needs of your organisation.
Suspending / Stopping Your Volunteer Programme
Not all organisations will be involved in the response to COVID-19. Many organisations will see a reduction in the need for their services and possibly their own capacity. In some cases, organisations may even need to suspend or cancel their volunteer programme. If that is the case, it is important to communicate with volunteers in a clear and understanding manner. We have put together some tips on how to effectively suspend or cancel your volunteer programme.
Thinking Ahead – Valuing Your Volunteer Programme
With the end of COVID-19 restrictions in sight and a recession looming, now is the time to think ahead and plan for the future of your post COVID-19 volunteer programme and to consider how it can support your organisation both now and in the future.
Volunteer Programme Sample COVID-19 Action Plan
This Sample Volunteer Programme Action Plan has been developed to illustrate the types of outcomes, outputs and activities that may be relevant in long standing volunteer programmes both now and post-COVID-19. We hope it will be helpful in providing areas of work that may need attention at this time and can guide you when presenting a plan of action for your volunteer programme to your organisation’s management and Board members.
Bite-Size Videos: Organising Volunteers During An Emergency
In light of the increasing demands placed on those managing volunteers during COVID-19, we have put together a short video series on the very basics of recruiting and managing volunteers during an emergency. Each of the four videos is less than five minutes and runs through the essentials to be aware of during this time.
Video series: Moving to Virtual Volunteering
In this short video we explore Virtual Volunteering. While virtual volunteering has been around long before COVID-19, the current constraints under which we are living has made it something that many volunteer involving organisations are now considering it for the first time to help them address the issue to suspended volunteer programmes.
Moving to Online Volunteer Training
The COVID-19 pandemic presents many challenges for Volunteer Involving Organisations. You may be exploring alternative forms of volunteering such as virtual volunteering, now is also the time to explore delivering your volunteer training online.
Rights and Responsibilities
Arthur Cox have also kindly put together some guidance on the rights and responsibilities of both volunteers and volunteer involving organisations – Download our Rights and Responsibilities fact sheet