How to manage an influx of volunteers
28 March 2023
As a charity, volunteers are the lifeblood of your organisation.
In this article we share our top tips for managing the increased number of volunteers, especially in the lead-up to The Big Help Out, surrounding the coronation, where people from all over the nation are being encouraged to volunteer for a cause close to their heart.
As amazing as this initiative is, we know it’ll incur additional logistical pressure on you as an organisation, to manage the influx of kind-hearted individuals who want to help make a difference for those in need of help.
Reassess application processes
First things first, your volunteers need to apply; we recommend revaluating your application process to ensure it’s as streamlined as possible.
You may want to consider asking for all background supporting information up front - this will save time and allow you to look at all applications in their entirety from the start, letting you easily pick out the suitable applicants and get the process moving as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
The time you spend evaluating your current procedures will likely save you much more time in the long-run!
People lead busy lives, and often have little free time, therefore it is important to remember that many people may not be able to commit to a full day of volunteering, when they have a number of other responsibilities such as family, friends, and work.
The great thing about having a larger number of volunteers is that they will all have different availability and you’ll be able to offer shorter shifts to more people, so that all times are covered.
The length of a shift all depends on the nature of the job they are volunteering to do, so make sure that it’s long enough that they will be able to make a difference, but not so long that they feel burdened by it.
It’s important that your volunteers understand exactly what is needed in the role they are fulfilling. You may wish to hold a group training session so you can teach everyone all at once. Consider creating a printed or digital guide for volunteers to refer to so that they can refresh their memory when on the job.
You should also make it very clear who the contact will be for your volunteers should they have any questions or issues. Having a clear and defined role and process for your volunteers to follow, will ensure that all tasks are covered, and everyone knows where they stand, so that your charity can help as many people as possible.
It’s important that you remember volunteers are working for you for free, so remember to thank them for the time they have so selflessly given. You can show your gratitude with something as simple as a hand-written note. The gesture does not have to be grand, but your volunteers will appreciate the recognition and will be more likely to volunteer for you again and again.
Cover your people
We highly recommend reading our volunteers risk guide for more information on risk management, however it is also imperative that you have the correct insurance cover in place, too. Speak to your insurance broker to discuss your policy and whether you are adequately insured, not only for your volunteers but for every aspect of risk your charity may be exposed to, such as property damage, business interruption, and cyber attacks.
We hope these top tips have shown you just how simple you can make the task of managing an increased number of volunteers, helping you get the most of people’s generosity donating their time. Implementing these ideas will mean you can continue to make a big difference to those who need your services.