10 Simple Steps to Design Effective Volunteer Positions

To lead others well a leader must know what is expected of those being led. In businesses this is often done by the leader or HR department creating a “job description” used to attract qualified candidates to the hiring process. That job description helps the leader determine who would be the best fit for the job and it also provides clarity to the prospective job applicant about what would be expected of her. Businesses often do this process very well. However, when nonprofits attempt to recruit volunteers they often neglect this area.

Sadly, potential volunteers often hear the nonprofit cry “we need help” and show up at the organization to “help” only to discover that there is no clear direction about what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, when it needs to be completed, or who is in charge. As a result volunteers often bail out of the volunteer opportunity.

In today’s post I show you ten simple steps you can use to create simple and effective volunteer position descriptions.

10 Simple Steps to Design Effective Volunteer Positions

Photo Credit: Andrew Stawarz

It is important to consider job design before recruitment, for you must know why you need volunteers before you try to enlist help.
Marlene Wilson, The Effective Management of Volunteer Programs, pp. 101-102

When you’re engaging a volunteer to support you with a complex project or task, it’s important to lay everything out on the table. Put the desired outcomes down in writing, along with a proposed timeline and designated check-in points. Each party should sign a letter of agreement or memorandum of understanding (MoU). Everyone should be on the same page from the start about what a successful completion will look like. Then, you can take a step back and let everyone do what they do best.
Shannon David, “How to Deepen Your Impact by Engaging Skilled Volunteers”

I. Connect your organization’s vision/mission with their passion.


How to (If Your Need to) Interview Volunteers

Recruiting, screening, and interviewing volunteers is vital for the success of most nonprofit programs and church ministries. Sometimes when recruiting volunteers it might be necessary to interview volunteers in order to discern where the volunteer would be most helpful. In today’s post I give you some tips on how to interview potential volunteers.

How to Interview Volunteers

Photo Credit: Hashoo Foundation

I. Formal interviews and screenings are not always necessary for an effective program.