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Volunteer Management

Updated 25/113

Follow the trail

This page

If you are looking to gain experience or satisfaction from volunteering, most of the sites and contacts listed here will give pointers to possibilities, but the Volunteering Opportunities section may be a better starting place.



This page is a mixture of briefing and listings styles, in the People Matters grouping.

Although it is called the 'voluntary sector', not all organisations use volunteers in carrying out their work. It is only the governing body (the people ultimately responsible for the organisation) who have to be volunteers, and even that is now not absolutely essential. (See Glossary)

IVR quotes the following statistics: 22 million adults volunteer each year to complete 90 million hours of work a week (source not stated).

Recruiting and Managing Volunteers

Also see our Volunteering Opportunities for other agencies.

Online Volunteering

Virtual Volunteering Resources (Service at University of Texas)'.

Online Volunteering, managed by United Nations Volunteers, is also worth a look.

Jayne Cravens is an expert in online volunteering. She refers to the above two sites, but adds (in a UKVPM posting) a caution not expect to launch a community of OVs over night. "Start with just one or two online volunteering tasks, and a very small number of online volunteers, so you can build up your own skills in online people management. Don't overwhelm yourself -- it's so easy to do when starting an OV project."

"GuideStar works with MSDN Online to connect nonprofit organizations with web developer and designer volunteers" (direct link to info on this no longer works, Jan 03). IT4Communities sort of does this in the UK, but you can't directly match up online.

Organisations for Volunteer Managers

Training for Volunteer Managers

As well as short courses provided on relevant subjects, by most of the umbrella bodies listed in the first section on this page and those listed on our short courses page, check out:

Further Resources

Volunteer Management Software

Involve is the database system designed specifically for Volunteer Managers by IVR (see above).

V-Base has been developed by YouthNet UK in partnership with volunteering agencies. Connects with the Do-It online volunteering vacancies site, as well as handling mailing list management, activity log, etc. Requires MS Office.

Volbase There are various programs around this name, including one used by IBM for their own use in volunteer matching. The Volbase most likely to be encountered in the voluntary sector is a database for infrastructure bodies - see specialist software page.

VolSoft, an American outfit, produces The Volunteer Reporter, which has been mentioned on UKVPM as worth checking.

Volunteer2, a web-based system originally from Canada, now has a UK distribution arrangement.

Volgistics is a web-based recruiting tracking and coordinating system from the US. The previous VolunteerWorks desktop program has been retired.

VolunteerHub is another American online offering for managing volunteers.

Go2give is a UK based operation that allows volunteers to book shifts via its web based portal.

Also see: Membership (and fundraising) systems will often have relevant facilities for volunteer management.

More information on the web


Volunteer Management Issues

A lot of avoidable tensions between volunteers and the rest of an organisation are about differences in expectations, often unvoiced. Remember it is a two-way contract - volunteers want something in return for their efforts, whether it is 'only' a feeling of satisfaction from doing something useful or contributing to society. They could also be looking for work experience, including learning new skills, something to put on their CV or a chance to influence. It is helpful if this 'unwritten contract' is out in the open, along with what level of commitment the organisation is looking for, and policies on behaviour (eg advance warning of absences, conforming to equal opportunities requirements) and expenses, for instance.

For issues around trade union relations and how volunteers relate to paid staff in rpoviding services, see our Glossary, under Drain Guidlelines, for Guidelines for relations between volunteers and paid workers in the Health and Personal Social Services.

For legal issues around using volunteers see Volunteers and the Law, or Volunteer expenses.