Volunteering: General Principles & Policy Guidelines
1. We are an Amateur Sports Club that relies on its volunteers to function. Apart from some larger contracted projects, the main grounds’ maintenance and the bar, everything is provided by our volunteers. We have a highly inclusive club ethos, which is a considerable strength, and this is reflected in our volunteers who are primarily recruited from our members.
2. Recognising the importance of a rewarding Volunteer policy we seek to adopt eight key features identified by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, these are
- Volunteering should be inclusive, welcoming and accessible to all:
- It should be as flexible as possible to allow people to fit it around their circumstances.
- It should enable people to have a positive impact on causes that are important to them.
- It should give people a sense of connection with others, a cause, an organisation and/or their local area.
- It should be balanced to ensure that volunteers are not overburdened.
- It should be enjoyable. People are giving up their free time and so volunteering should make them feel good about what they are doing.
- It should be genuinely voluntary, and
- It should be meaningful, giving people a sense that they have achieved something that resonates with their interests and beliefs.
3. Our commitment to turn these qualities into reality is considerable, recognising that the future direction and quality of the club is entirely dependent on our volunteers. We also know that volunteering places obligations on the club. Our promise is to do our best to:
- Align skills with job requirements. Where possible we try to present a range of volunteering opportunities to potential volunteers and to invite them to be highly influential in the choices they make.
- Identify a programme of induction, support and training. Follow up is important, we intend to revisit new volunteer placements and to review all existing volunteer positions with qualitative and confidential interviews, drawing on the experience we have built from our strategic planning process.
- Mindful that volunteers must find the right balance between the time they invest and their external commitments, we build flexibility into management process, including job shares and roles. Working from home and webinar communication is commonplace.
- A key requirement is that Job specifications, which are being prepared over a staged period, clearly indicate the task, responsibilities and accountabilities. The club will indicate where each volunteer task fits within the club’s management organisation, and restrictions that might be placed on committing the club financially and with other obligations.
- It is recognised that most volunteer appointments are conditional on screening. Also, for a variety of reasons some volunteer appointments may not come up to either the club’s or volunteer’s expectations. It is sometimes necessary to discontinue a voluntary appointment, where practical finding an alternative role
- Special care is necessary on communication with junior volunteers, this is addressed under welfare.
4. All volunteers need support and the right to be heard. They will have someone to talk to, the club’s Welfare Policy is designed to provide confidential support for this purpose.
There are other important issues these policy guidelines address. First, the club is always looking for volunteers to take over and develop new roles, many of which are expected to evolve to the position of a senior club official. Secondly, our members have considerable business, technical and care skills which they are often willing to share in supporting a project. Thirdly, if you are not able to become a regular volunteer would you nevertheless be willing to be entered on the club’s skills’ database?
PLEASE AGREE TO AN ENTRY ON THE CLUB’S SKILLS DATABASE. A MINUTE OF ADVICE MIGHT POINT A GENERATION OF VOLUNTEERS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.