History Graduate Students working on this year's SWAT project at the Milton Historic Society.


Creating Volunteer Program Policies

A volunteer policy is an important tool that facilitates good relationships with volunteers by clarifying roles and mutual expectations. Designing and growing your volunteer program is a complex process than can seem daunting, but does not have to be.

Looking at other organizations’ policies, such as that of the Kansas Historical Society, can provide ideas for how to frame or revise your own volunteer policy.

If you rely on a large number of volunteers, check out this quick consumer’s guide to volunteer management software. (PDF)

The Corporation for National and Community Service offers this volunteer management guidebook. (PDF)

Having a one-time or recurring event that you need volunteers for? Look at Florence May’s article, offering suggestions and questions you should ask about your volunteer policy before you get started planning.


Thomas McKee’s “The Seven Deadly Sins of Recruiting Volunteers” gives tips on what not to do when trying to recruit volunteers.

Looking for ideas for recruitment? These are the ABCs of volunteer recruitment. (URL)

Here are 101 suggestions for volunteer recruitment! (PDF)

The National Park Service offers this set of guidelines for writing volunteer job descriptions. (DOC)

The Millennial Impact Project offers research, discussions, and meetings so that organizations can learn how to engage with the Millennial generation. (URL)

Speaking of millennials, here is a sample youth volunteer application from the Museum of Science.

Keeping Baby Boomers Volunteering: A Research Brief on Volunteer Retention and Turnover is an insightful look at one of the largest groups of volunteers: Baby Boomers. This is an example of the research reports on trends in volunteering produced by the Corporation for National and Community Service. All reports can be downloaded for Free. (PDF)

Training Manuals & Handbooks

Volunteer training manuals can expedite and UNIFY volunteer efforts. This is an outline that takes you through the process of constructing a training manual. (PDF)

Hagley Museum and Library has a good example of a volunteer training handbook (PDF).

The Museum & Education Department Volunteer Handbook from the Champaign County Forest Preserve District is a good model that you can follow for your own volunteer handbook. (PDF) It includes volunteer job descriptions, application and emergency contact forms, and waivers for risk and background checks.

The High Desert Museum offers a good example of a teen volunteer manual.

After your volunteers arrive, you’ll need to orient them to your site. Check out this orientation manual for a good example from the Volunteer Centre of Camrose and District, in Alberta, Canada. (PDF)

Legal Issues

Having volunteers work at an organization can raise legal issues related to volunteers’ rights and safety as well as those of the visitors with whom they interact.  This webinar covers a range of risks your organization may face and numerous risk management strategies that can be tailored to meet your organization’s needs.

Volunteer Management

SignUpGenius helps you organize your volunteers online for free.  SignUpGenius has a Non-Profits Sign Uptemplate which allows you to schedule, manage, and send reminder e-mails for volunteers.  The Preferences allow you to see when someone signs up, to send reminders to group members, and to allow list members to “swap” slots with another member (must be registered to site).

Did you know you can track volunteer hours in PastPerfect? Check out this webinar from PastPerfect.

Professional Organizations

The Delaware Association of Volunteer Administrators (DAVA)  serves as a “statewide organization for leaders of volunteers.”