Volunteers play critical roles in many communities. Public entities benefit from their services, as volunteers can enhance their capacity to deliver services within their respective communities. Volunteering also provides individuals with opportunities to learn new skills and contribute their time and expertise. As well, there are multiple volunteer benefits which volunteers can provide public entities as they can enhance their capacity to deliver services within their respective communities.
As public entities continue to make the most of volunteers as a strategic enabler, many entities are turning their attention to establishing and operating programs to manage volunteers and the services they deliver. As part of establishing and operating a volunteer program, public entities need to consider a wide variety of risks that range from volunteer recruitment, screening, and supervision. Many of these risks can be addressed through the implementation of a comprehensive volunteer program that includes a layer of risk controls.
The following guidance highlights key areas of considerations for public entities to help them adopt appropriate measures as part of their volunteer program. It should not be seen as an exhaustive list and should be used in conjunction with internal policies and procedures, as well as in compliance with local laws and regulations.
As part of establishing and operating a volunteer program, public entities require a policy that clearly articulates the roles and responsibilities of volunteers and the manner in which they are expected to provide services on behalf of the organization. The policy should address the various components of the volunteer programs and have accompanying procedures that outline detailed steps involved in the administration of the program. Ideally, the volunteer program policy and procedures should address the following:
Ensuring volunteers are able to carry out their duties start by selecting candidates who are the right fit towards the requirements of the position. This is achieved through following best practices in the recruitment and selection process by having targeted controls and practices during the recruitment and assessment of candidates who have applied or being considered for a volunteer position.
The following information should be supplied as part of the volunteer job description . The job descriptions should be tailored to meet the specific needs of the organization and reflect roles and responsibilities of the volunteers for a specific activity, engagement, or event.
The following measures should be adopted as part of the screening process to assess fit and eligibility of candidates for volunteer positions:
The following information and/or documents should be requested from candidates who have applied and are being considered for volunteer positions:
The following practices can be adopted as part of the volunteer interview to assess fit and eligibility of candidates for volunteer positions. The candidate shall be provided with the following:
Once candidates have been selected, they will need to complete a mandatory onboarding to ensure they receive the appropriate volunteer training that will make them aware of the policies and procedures of the organisation, as well as provide them with on-the-job guidance through a structured orientation program.
Ensuring that volunteers can perform their duties to the best of their abilities includes maintaining a robust training program.
Public entities should provide volunteers with on-the-job training when initially assuming their volunteer duties. This can be achieved by appointing the following designated individual(s) to act as a resource:
Effective supervision helps ensure that service level standards are maintained or exceeded and that safety measures are upheld.
As volunteers play a critical role in the delivery of services across many communities, public entities need to take appropriate steps to manage volunteers as strategic assets for their organization. By establishing a comprehensive volunteer program, public entities are able to take a balanced approach that enhances their service delivery capacity within their respective communities, while addressing a wide-variety of risks.
If you have questions, please contact your Marsh representative.