Good Practice in Volunteering Toolkit

Our Good Practice Toolkit contains a series of templates to help organisations work effectively with volunteers. The templates are copyright free and can easily be personalised to meet an organisation’s requirements. Use of the forms will depend on the size of the organisation and how that organisation works with volunteers. This is not an exhaustive list, as there are many other templates out there that can be used. The important thing is that organisations develop a structured and consistent approach towards involving volunteers. 

1. Volunteer Management Assessment Toolkit

This assessment tool, provided in Excel, allows organisations to reflect on their overall approach towards volunteering, highlighting key strengths and also areas where more development may be required. It is a useful tool to guide a discussion between the management committee, volunteers, staff and service users.

2. Volunteer Policy Guidance Notes

A volunteer policy is a framework for the involvement of volunteers within an organisation. It summarises and signposts on to other policies and procedures. It can place work with volunteers in context, by explaining their role within the organisation and their distinctiveness from paid staff.

3. Volunteer Application Form

A simple form for gathering information about potential volunteers. 

4. Self-Declaration Form

This form allows organisations to ask questions about potential volunteer convictions prior to a PVG check being carried out. This can be useful as it allows honest discussions to take place between the organisation and volunteer. The form should be returned in a sealed envelope and only read after inviting the volunteer for interview or informal chat. 

5. Self-declaration Form – Guidance Notes

These provide the potential volunteer with explanatory notes for completion of the Self-Declaration Form.

6. Letter to Volunteer’s Referee

This letter allows the volunteer manager to ascertain useful information about the potential volunteer and will help to determine if they are suited to the volunteer task. Taking up references is an important part of the recruitment process. 

7. Volunteer Reference Form

This is an alternative way of taking up a reference and allows an organisation to ask specific questions about the suitability of the volunteer to the task. It is helpful to attach the relevant task description for the referee to consider.

8. Interview Record

A useful record for organisations that use an interview as part of their recruitment process.

9. Induction Checklist

A checklist can help to ensure that volunteers are fully inducted. Introductory tasks can be ticked off once they are completed. 

10. Volunteer Agreement

This form lays out what the volunteer and organisation can expect from each other. The agreement is not and should not be a contract – it describes expectations rather than obligations. Organisations can use these guidance notes to draw up a volunteer agreement that is relevant to their specific needs. 

11. Role Description

A role description gives a prospective volunteer a good idea of what will be expected of them and clear guidelines once they are involved in the organisation. Writing a volunteer role down in advance also helps to assess whether it is going to work in practice.

12. Volunteer Expenses Form

Organisations need to keep a clear record of the expenses volunteers are paid, as they need to be able to show that they are paying out of pocket expenses only. Proper record keeping will also help to avoid problems for volunteers in receipt of benefits.

13. Supervision Record Sheet

It can be helpful to keep a record of any supervision sessions that have taken place with volunteers. This not only serves as a reminder to both parties but also helps when carrying out an annual review or appraisal. Volunteers should be involved in completing the form so that it is viewed as a joint agreement. 

14. Volunteer Review Form

A Volunteer Review (similar to an annual appraisal) is an opportunity for the volunteer to reflect on their time as a volunteer so far and for them to make plans and set goals.

15. Exit Questionnaire

A key way of finding out how to improve a volunteer programme and keep volunteers for longer is to find out why they leave. Make sure there is a strategy in place for implementing any suggested changes.

16. Involving Young Volunteers

This is a quick guide on how to involve volunteers who are under 18. Most of the guide is relevant to involving volunteers of any age. Not all roles are suitable for under 18s, but many are. It’s important to note that an organisation may be discriminating against younger people if they are excluded from volunteering.