Good Practice Toolkit
The Good Practice Toolkit contains a series of templates to help your organisation in your work with volunteers. Many of the templates have been developed from the best forms that are around and those which are direct copies are acknowledged individually. They are copyright free and can easily be personalised to meet your organisation’s requirements. You may wish to use all the templates, or just a few. It will depend on the size of your organisation and the way you work with volunteers. It should be remembered that this is not an exhaustive list – there are many other forms etc. that you may want to use.
Click on each heading to download.
This assessment tool, provided in Excel, allows organisations to reflect on their overall volunteer programme and identifies where they are at while highlighting areas where more development is required. A useful tool to guide a discussion between the management committee, volunteers, staff and service users.
These guidance notes will help you think through developing a volunteer policy and give you suggestions as to what to include. A volunteer policy is a framework for your involvement of volunteers. It summarises and signposts on to other policies and procedures. It can place your work with volunteers in context, by explaining their role within your organisation, and their distinctiveness from paid staff.
A simple form for gathering information about potential volunteers and references.
A Self-declaration Form allows organisations to ask questions about potential volunteers convictions prior to a PVG Check being carried out. This can be useful as a Self-declaration Form puts any convictions into context and allows honest discussions to take place between the organisation and potential volunteer. The Self-declaration Form should be returned in a sealed envelope and only read after you have decided to invite the potential volunteer for interview/informal chat. Some organisations only send them out to those selected for interview and this could cut down on unnecessary information being sought at an early stage.
These provide the potential volunteer with explanatory notes for completion of the Self Declaration Form.
This letter allows you to glean useful information about the potential volunteer and will help you determine if they are suited to the volunteer task.Taking up references is an important part of the recruitment process. This letter allows you to glean useful information about the potential volunteer and will help you determine if they are suited to the volunteer task. Attach the relevant task description for the referee to consider.
This is an alternative way of taking up a reference and allows you to ask specific questions about the suitability of the volunteer to the task. It is helpful to attach the relevant task description for the referee to consider.
A useful record for organisations that use an interview as part of their recruitment process.
It can be very useful to make a checklist to ensure that volunteers are fully inducted. It doesn't have to be complicated, simply something you or the volunteer can tick off as thingsare completed. Remember you don't have to carry out the whole induction – it may be more appropriate for another member of staff or an experienced volunteer to take responsibility for some aspects of the induction.
Use these guidance notes to help you draw up a volunteer agreement that is relevant to your organisation. Volunteer agreements set out what volunteers and the organisation can expect from each other. In a sense they are describing the volunteer's rights and responsibilities. The agreement is not and should not be a contract – they describe expectations rather than obligations. Use these guidance notes to help you draw up a volunteer agreement that is relevant to your organisation. You may wish to include statements on all or just some of the sections.
A role description gives a prospective volunteer a good idea of what will be expected of them, and clear guidelines once they are involved in the organisation. Drawing one up helps concentrate the mind and ensure that you do have a viable role to offer the volunteer. These guidance notes will help you consider what to include in your task description.
Ask volunteers to record their actual out of pocket expenses on this form. You're going to need to keep a record of the expenses volunteers are paid. In terms of finance you might only be concerned with the overall amount, but you need to be able to show that you are paying out of pocket expenses only. This will help to avoid problems for volunteers in receipt of benefits, and lessen the chance of it looking like you have intended to create a contract with your volunteers. Ask your volunteers to record their actual out of pocket expenses on this form and return to you at a specified time (usually at the end of each month).
It can be helpful to use this form to keep a record of any supervision sessions you have with your volunteers. This not only serves as a reminder to both parties but also helps if you are planning to carry out an annual review or appraisal or if problems arise in the future. You should encourage the volunteer to be involved in completing the form so it is not just seen as your record but that you jointly have agreed on the points noted. It is also helpful if both parties sign the record and a copy made for the volunteer, with the original retained in their volunteer file.
A Volunteer Review (similar to an Annual Appraisal) is an opportunity for the volunteer to reflect on the previous year as a volunteer with your organisation and for them to make plans and set goals. Give this form to the volunteer a few weeks prior to the Review Meeting and ask them to bring the completed form with them to the meeting.
One way of finding out how to improve your volunteer programme and keep your volunteers longer is to find out why they leave. Use this form prior to volunteers leaving your organisation. Make sure you have a strategy for implementing any suggested changes.
This is a quick guide on how to involve volunteers who are under 18, or even under 16. Most of the guide is relevant to involving volunteers of any age. Not all roles are suitable for under 18s, but many are and your organisation may be discriminating against younger people if you exclude them from volunteering for your organisation.