Volunteers make lasting contributions to the efforts of organizations. Volunteers donate their time, efforts, and skills to support organizations’ initiatives and events. It is crucial that volunteers are well supported and have a clear idea of their goals and responsibilities. The Volunteer Management Guide will help your organization effectively recruit and retain volunteers.

Below is an introduction to the Volunteer Management Guide.

1. Volunteers should be participating in meaningful service.

2. Volunteers should not be doing the work of a paid staff member.

3. Volunteers should have a clear understanding of the organization, policies, procedures, and activities they will be participating in.

4. Volunteers should be given proper training and supervision to complete these activities.

5. Volunteers should know where to go if there are issues at the site and be made aware of their surroundings/inherent risks at their site (if they exist).

6. The organization should have a strong system in place where volunteers are able to log their hours (this is often needed for internships, school, etc.).

7. Volunteers should be valued and appreciated for their efforts.

8. Volunteers should know how to get involved further.

9. Volunteers should be made aware of how their service benefits your organization.

10. Through service, volunteers should be creating mutually beneficial partnerships with the community, stakeholders, patrons, and current/future volunteers.

Questions to Consider Before Planning a Volunteer Opportunity

Ideas, Goals, and Objectives

  • What is the goal and objective of the volunteer event?
  • Is the idea feasible and realistic?
  • Do you have a budget (most volunteer opportunities do not)
  • How many volunteers do you need to run the event effectively?
  • What are the job duties of the volunteers?
  • What do the logistics of the event look like?
  • What population are you serving?
  • Are you serving an unmet need or providing support for the event?
  • What are some potential problems or roadblocks you anticipate?

Recruiting Volunteers


  • What time do the volunteers need to arrive at the event?
  • Do they need to follow a certain dress code?
  • What are the rules of the organization?
  • Do the volunteers have a supervisor or point of contact?
  • Do the volunteers need transportation to the event/your site? (note: you will not be reimbursed for travel)
  • How many volunteers will be needed?
  • Do you provide the volunteers with necessary background information? (Overview of the organization, policies and procedures, etc.)
  • Do the volunteers know who to contact if they are in an emergency situation or having difficulties during service?

Volunteer Activities Planning

  • Do the volunteers need to have a specific skill set or certain traits?
  • How frequently will the volunteers be needed?
  • Do the volunteers know how this plays into the strategic plan and mission of your organization?

On Site Actions


  • Is the onsite supervisor present? (if needed)
  • Did he/she properly explain the directions and task? (if needed)
  • Is he/she effectively motivating the group (if needed)
  • Is he/she acting appropriately?
  • Is he/she promoting the organization?
  • Is he/she able to answer questions asked by volunteers?
  • Is he/she building relationships within the group?
  • Is the volunteer group enjoying their service?

By identifying the goals of a supervisor, you will ensure that the site plans are happening as planned and the volunteers are enjoying the experience.


  • Do supervisors have a form or survey where they can provide feedback about the event, themselves, and the volunteer group?
  • Does the volunteer group have a form or survey where they can provide feedback about the event, themselves, and the volunteer group?
  • Does the organization have a form or survey where they can provide feedback about the event, themselves, volunteer group, and supervisors?
  • In your feedback surveys, is a question asked about the monetary value of the hours and services provided by volunteers?

Feedback helps identify strengths and weaknesses of a volunteer opportunity.  This information can then be used to improve future volunteer events.

Follow Up

  • Did the organization follow up and thank the volunteers for their time?
  •  Did the organization encourage the volunteers that participated in the event to serve again?
  • Did the organization let stakeholders (and possibly the media) know how the event went?
  • Did the organization hold an internal meeting to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the event?

Successful volunteer retention is in the hands of the organization. It is important to recognize and thank volunteers for their efforts. Staying connected with volunteers and stakeholders also helps address concerns and answer questions.