Assistance and resources


Preliminary considerations before engaging volunteers

Volunteering has many facets. It is a source of fulfilment for those who do it. It reveals the needs of society and meets unmet needs. Volunteers contribute to the development of civil society. There are almost as many reasons to start volunteering as there are volunteers.

The functioning, administration and activities of an association are often based on the commitment of volunteers who invest their time and energy. It is important that, in addition to adhering to the association's objectives, volunteers should find other satisfactions, in particular the possibility of taking action, taking responsibility, meeting people, expressing themselves, comparing ideas and learning. It is therefore very important to know how to place a volunteer in the right place and to give them the right task. This is extremely beneficial for both the group and the volunteer.

Ideally, the volunteer feels that the time and energy he or she gives to the organisation is of benefit to the organisation, while at the same time providing a personally enriching experience. The activity is a win-win situation.

The hiring of volunteers is therefore an important decision for an association to make. It is important to be aware that the management of volunteers requires time, know-how and interpersonal skills.

This vade mecum, which aims to provide some concrete tools for the management of volunteers, is divided into the following sections

The time and energy that an association that decides to work with volunteers must invest in their management should not be underestimated. It is therefore important to define the volunteering policy within the association. The following questions can help to set priorities:

  • Why does our association want to work with volunteers?
  • What is our vision of volunteering?
  • How will we integrate volunteering into our organisation?
  • What place do we give to volunteering in relation to paid work?
  • For what levels of responsibility do we want to recruit volunteers?
  • What are the tasks that volunteers will be expected to perform?
  • What are the skills that the volunteers we are looking for should have?
  • What can our association offer to volunteers (supervision, training, materials, forms of recognition)?
  • What financial resources does our association have to support its volunteers?
  • Will we appoint a volunteer manager or representative and what resources will be made available to him or her (logistical, financial, etc.)?

Once all these questions have been clarified within the various levels of the association (board of directors, team of employees, etc.), it is important to draw up an informative brochure for volunteer staff. This brochure contains information about

  • the volunteer policy of the organisation
  • the internal regulations for volunteers
  • a questionnaire on the motivation of volunteers
  • a volunteer agreement

Once the formal tasks have been completed, it is important to ask the question of how to attract volunteers to our association.