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Working in the voluntary sector
Working in the voluntary sector

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2 Recruiting volunteers

Volunteer stewards at a rugby game
Figure 2 Volunteer stewards at a rugby game

How organisations recruit volunteers will inevitably differ according to the size of the organisation, the budget available for advertising, how formal they want to be about the process, which activities they are seeking help with, and so on. Volunteers are not part of any workplace legislation, so there are no legal requirements relating to recruitment as there are with paid work. For example, there is no requirement to interview volunteers – although it is good practice to do so, even if it is described as an informal meeting rather than an interview.

There are also differences between recruiting paid staff and recruiting volunteers, which relate to the following issues:

  • There is often a shortage of people coming forward to volunteer – this means that the needs of volunteers and what they have to offer (which might be slightly different from what is required) are taken into account.
  • The organisation is committed to helping the type of person who is likely to volunteer, or it regards developing and nurturing its volunteer force as equally important – for example, in a volunteer bureau, a self-help group, a community project, and so on.
  • The organisation has a policy of trying to accommodate all offers of help whenever possible.

Some organisations have formal procedures for managing volunteers, with written job specifications. They usually recruit by advertising for these roles. Smaller, more informal self-help groups may not necessarily recruit for specific roles and will match volunteers to the work that needs doing.