According to Communities and Local Government (2011) Citizenship Survey: 2010 – 2011 how many people do you think volunteered formally at least once in that year?…

39% – yes 39% with 25% of these volunteering formally at least once a month

This equates to 16.6 million people in England volunteering formally at least once a year and 10.6 million people in England volunteering formally once a month.

If the survey results were equally valid for the UK adult population as a whole, these estimates would increase to 19.8 million (once a year), and 12.7 million (once a month)*

volunteers induction

With so many volunteers out there ready to give their time and commitment to voluntary and community groups across the UK, it is vital that groups support their volunteers by investing in training to support their development.

Imagine if you started a new job and your employer said on the first day “Welcome, now get on with it”, that’s not a good start is it! Would you feel valued? Would you feel equipped to get on with job? No? me neither!

You’d expect an induction so that you could get to know the way in which the business operates, its standards and expectations from you in your role and the basic things you need to be able to perform.   So why shouldn’t the same should apply to new volunteers?

Our top tips!

An induction should cover:

Organisation specific topics depending on the organisation and what the position involves, but there are some basics which every organisation should include.

Immediately: Induction Checklist

  • It’s a good idea to have an induction checklist so that the person responsible for the volunteers can make sure that everyone has a complete induction. There are some things that will need to be done on the first day such as computer log-in, ID badge, orientation of the building, introductions to colleagues in the immediate team and how to record and claim expenses.
  • Outline what each new volunteer needs to know about your community group, your ethos, values and mission. Look out for people in your group that have good communication skills. Good communicators can motivate and inform the people with a short speech or presentation about their experience.
  • Let volunteers know about the various activities for which your group offers. Put together a slide show that demonstrates your volunteering activities and the people that benefit from them.
  • Remember – make sure that you give people enough information but be careful not to overwhelm them with too much all at once. Starting somewhere new as a staff member or a volunteer can be overwhelming enough without the added pressure of information overload too!

Week 1-2: Your organisation’s policies and procedures

Within the first week or two you need to consider going through your organisations policies and procedures.  Developing policies and procedure guidelines will help ensure that everyone within your organisation works to the same rules.  Here are a few examples that you might need to consider, depending on the role of your volunteers and who they will be working with:

  • Health and Safety guidelines – including any relevant risk assessments that need to be considered
  • Equality and diversity
  • Data protection and confidentiality
  • Emergency and fire awareness
  • Safeguarding – this could be either children and young people or adults at risk
  • Support and supervision

This list isn’t conclusive but should give you some food for thought on what you should consider when developing a volunteer induction programme.

Why not consider putting together a volunteer handbook which contains all the information your volunteers need, you could set weekly goals for them to work through and their manager can meet with them to answer any queries they may have.


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