Volunteer topic this month

Creating a quality volunteer experience

NCVOs recent report in volunteering found that a quality volunteering experience is…

Balanced - Balanced volunteering is proportionate to the role, without unnecessary bureaucracy and processes. If everyone is clear on what they are doing and why and is recognised for their contributions they are more likely to feel valued.

Connected - Feeling connected to an organisation or the cause are among the most common reasons to start volunteering and to continue. Most volunteers give time together with others and so meet people through their volunteering. Organisations should create opportunities for volunteers to meet and socialise with others.

Enjoyable -There are close links between satisfaction and enjoyment. Opportunities which look fun and enjoyable are also more likely to attract volunteers. The more relevant a role is to a volunteer the more a volunteer will enjoy taking part, even if the role is challenging.

Flexible - Listen to what volunteers and potential volunteers are looking for and want to offer, and not just think about what the organisation needs. Consider giving volunteers a ‘good exit’: the flexibility to change or leave their roles and an open door in case they want to come back.

Impactful - The feeling of making a difference is strongly associated with continuing to volunteer. Organisations should communicate the impact volunteers make, with recognition that their impact is valued and recognised. This impact should be shared across the organisation and with the wider community.

Inclusive - Ensure all opportunities are accessible and well-supported. Make it easy to get it involved e.g. offer taster sessions. Reach out to different people using a range of recruitment methods. Volunteers should be encouraged to be themselves and bring their lived experience to their role.

Meaningful - Match roles with what people want to give and their offer of time. Being transparent about what the role involves helps manage people’s expectations avoiding disappointment. It is important to try and understand why someone wants to volunteer.

Voluntary – Regularly check in with volunteers, especially those who are very heavily involved, in order to avoid burnout, feeling pressured and able to feel free to re-negotiate or to take a break.

To find out more on the eight key areas and to read the report in full please visit NCVO Time Well Spent.