The Importance of Having a Volunteer Policy for Your Non-Profit Organization

Tax Professionals' Resource
May 17, 2013 — 2,146 views  
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Volunteers can serve a non-profit in many ways through contributions of time, talent, and energy that will contribute to the fulfillment of the organization's goals. They generate an atmosphere of interest and enthusiasm to help project a positive picture about the work the organization does in a community. Another important benefit of volunteers is that they are very versatile and can function in any role according to their strengths.

When Should a Policy for Volunteers be Introduced?

Depending on how big the organization is, and the nature of work that is undertaken by them, it may not be necessary to have a very formal policy for the volunteers. But it is necessary to have one in place with a necessary amount of formality so that it does not put off potential volunteers from offering their time and energy to the mission of the organization. A policy for volunteers provides a very useful framework that defines everything that has to be put in place in order to support an organization or project that requires the contributions of volunteers.

What is the Need for a Policy for Volunteers?

As a non-profit organization grows and becomes bigger, it is only natural that they will also increase the range and number of opportunities and roles for interested volunteers. Therefore, it is important that there is a policy in place to elucidate the role that each of the volunteers play in the organization and the responsibilities that they wield. It is a clustered collection of each of the procedures and various policies that affect these volunteers, including recruitment, health and safety, expenses, and stipends, if any.

Drafting a policy with a collection of all the required information will be very helpful to ensure consistency between different volunteers in the same roles. It also helps to set out what these volunteers can expect to gain from the non-profit organization as well as elaborates on their responsibilities and requirements. It demonstrates a sign of good practice when an organization has a policy for volunteers in place, which is placed under review and updated regularly. It works as a standard of volunteering and an internal user’s manual for every volunteer to follow.

What has to be Included in the Policy?

Though the development or updating of policies will only marginally help in managing the volunteers and their respective roles, there is some consistency that is provided by the policies, to the process and to the volunteers' experience. Issues such as equal employment policy, non-rejection policy and a screening policy have to be tackled when drafting or updating a policy for volunteers.

You will also need to look into establishing the policy in a way that it improves the way that your employees work with the volunteers. The diverse volunteer staff and helpers will entail the work of various employees to manage each group, sending a strong message about the value that has been placed on this function. It is also important to have well drafted volunteer policies that are in place to retain good volunteers who contribute well, as well as hire new volunteers that have a lot of potential to fill in the unoccupied roles in the organization. This means promoting good management practices, rewarding a job well done, and also conducting background checks to ensure that potential candidates are suited to the roles they have to take up.

Tax Professionals' Resource