Whether 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. In this section, you’ll find lots of useful tools and tips to help you manage volunteers and learn more about Volunteer Ireland’s National Volunteer Management Training Programme.


Charter for Effective Volunteering

The Charter for Effective Volunteering outlines the key expectations of both volunteers and organisations. 


Motivating and Thanking Volunteers

People volunteer for a multitude of reasons: to give something back to their community; to gain or improve skills; to meet new people; because they are interested in an issue or cause; or because they have some free time on their hands. Acknowledging the work that volunteers do with your organisation and why ensures they will stay motivated and continue to work on your behalf. Here are some suggestions on how to motivate and thank volunteers.


Volunteer Agreement

A volunteer agreement is the foundation of the working relationship between an organisation and its volunteers. A volunteer agreement clarifies the expectations of both parties in relation to length of time commitment, confidentiality, attendance at training, and adherence to the organisation’s policies and procedures. Below is a sample volunteer agreement, which can be adapted to suit the needs of your organisation.


Volunteer Expenses

Whilst it is best practice for volunteer-involving organisations to pay out-of-pocket expenses for volunteers, it is also recognised that some organisations do not have the resources to do so. Either way, it is important that organisations have an expenses policy in place and that volunteers are aware of which expenses are covered right from the start. Common expenses covered include travel to and from the place of volunteering and lunches. We strongly recommend that organisations do not provide a flat rate for volunteers for these or other expenses and, instead, reimburse expenses upon receipt. Expense processes typically include submitting receipts on a regular basis accompanied by an expenses form. Once submitted and approved, volunteers receive an expenses cheque. Below is a sample volunteer expenses form that may be altered to suit the needs of your organisation.


Developing a Volunteer Policy for your organisation

Every organisation should have a volunteer policy in place and this step-by-step guide is designed to help you through the stages of putting such a policy together. Obviously, this is a guide and will not necessarily apply to every organisation or to every volunteer, but your local Volunteer Centre will be happy to help on an individual basis with specific issues or challenges.


Volunteer Management Health Check Guide

The Volunteer Management Health Check Guide has been developed to offer general guidance to volunteer-involving organisations in identifying and putting the necessary items in place to manage your volunteer programme more effectively, improve volunteer retention, and ultimately enhance your reputation as an organisation where volunteers want to be involved. The action plan has been developed to help your organisation identify the gaps in best practice within your volunteer programme and to develop a plan for gradually putting them in place.The Volunteer Management Health Check Guide is suitable for use by organisations that are putting a new volunteer programme in place or those who wish to audit or improve their current programme.