Before you start, think about how you'll make sure to offer a good experience to your volunteers.
You may need to change how you recruit volunteers during covid-19.
See guidance on recruiting and inducting volunteers during the pandemic.
Your advert should set out:
Use language and images that reflect and welcome diversity.
Ways to advertise for new volunteers include:
If you are looking for specific skills, think about where you will find people with those skills.
Be proactive. Reach out to groups and people who are under-represented in your organisation and help them to get involved.
Using a simple application form will help make sure your recruitment process is fair. You should make sure everyone can use this. Where appropriate, provide it in different languages. If the form is online, make sure it is accessible to everyone.
Asylum seekers, people from overseas, people on benefits and ex-offenders can all volunteer. If necessary, seek appropriate guidance from a Volunteer Centre.
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Ask the potential volunteer if they need any support to attend or prepare for an interview. For example, they might feel more comfortable if they know what you're going to ask them about.
Don't make interviews too formal. People are offering a gift of time, not seeking paid employment.
It's important to get to know the potential volunteer, so give them time to talk about themselves.
You should discuss:
It's good practice to keep a record of your questions and the potential volunteer's responses.
Once you've chosen your new volunteer, contact them to suggest a start date and induction time.
Before you confirm this, you'll need to make some checks.
You can ask new volunteers to give references. In most cases, a simple letter from two referees is enough. You could also talk to the referees by phone to check what you discussed at interview.
If the role demands physical activity, health checks are advisable. You can also ask all volunteers about health conditions if it's your policy. Don't use health checks to discriminate against people. If in doubt, consult your organisation's equity, diversity and inclusion policy.
A criminal record check gives you information about an applicant’s criminal history. It's an important part of safeguarding. It makes recruitment safer and stops unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups.
It's not always lawful to carry out a check on volunteers, so make sure you know when to ask for one.
Having completed recruitment, you may decide the person is not suitable for the role.
It's important to tell the applicant the reasons that you're not accepting them as a volunteer. You can also suggest that the nearest Volunteer Centre may have more suitable roles for them.
Applicants may also decide they don't want to volunteer for your organisation after all. In this case, ask the applicant for their reasons. This insight may prove helpful for future recruitment.
This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 12 April 2021
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