Involving Volunteers

1 Introduction

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All rights reserved.

This course is about the essential things you need to consider to ensure a positive experience for individuals engaging in volunteering. The overall aim is to help you build upon and improve your practice. It was developed with input from volunteers, volunteer-involving groups and organisations, volunteer practitioners and trainers. This input has given us the volunteers’ perspective and the volunteers’ ‘voice’ that we hope you will find helpful throughout the course.

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Figure 1 Volunteer management model. All rights reserved.

The course approaches the four stages of the volunteer management model [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (above) from the perspective of a volunteer as they pass through different phases of their volunteering ‘journey’.

This model was developed by Volunteer Scotland with volunteers and those who support volunteers. It is a four-stage model that takes the volunteer and group or organisation through their journey from thinking about volunteering, to getting started, and then on to making a difference and building on success. In each of the four sections we ask you to consider some key issues. You will explore and reflect on these in your context and then develop an appropriate action plan for your situation.

Throughout the course you will encounter the phrase ‘appropriate to your context’. This course recommends that at every stage, how you involve, manage or support volunteers needs to be proportionate. Where formality is required it should be provided; where it is not required, then formal procedures and structures are not appropriate. For example, a four-page application form is not appropriate for a one-day event volunteering opportunity, but it might be appropriate for a volunteer who is going to be working with a vulnerable client group over a long period of time.

1.1 Who is this course for?