Volunteers and Other Human Resources

There are no specific laws relating to volunteers. In the case of volunteers, the challenge is finding and keeping volunteers without the lure of a salary.

Some examples of good practice in volunteer management include:

  • Positively articulating why you involve volunteers on an ongoing basis
  • Having a written volunteer policy and/ or handbook
  • Drawing up role descriptions for all volunteers
  • Having informal recruitment and selection techniques that mirror those for paid staff
  • Providing induction and ongoing training
  • Having appropriate systems for supervision and support
  • Recognising the contribution that volunteers make and saying THANK YOU
  • Paying out-of-pocket expenses
  • Evaluating the impact made by volunteers.

Other human resources

The other types of workers that may be involved in your organisation, such as trainees and interns, sometimes occupy a grey management area. Are they paid staff or are they volunteers? What are their rights and responsibilities? Who deals with any problems? It is vital that the contribution of all workers is recognised, planned for, managed and evaluated.

It is vital that the contribution of all workers is recognised, planned for, managed and evaluated... 

A human resource that requires particularly careful thought is that of third party contractors; individuals or organisations to whom you may contract out some work, because you do not have the skills or time to do it in-house. Examples include management consultants, trainers, graphic designers, tradespeople, etc. If the contract is any way sizeable, it is crucial that you put it out to tender.

It is also very important to agree – in detail and in writing – the scope of the work, the exact activities and the timelines, and that you fix a price for the job. Unless the job in hand is small, stage payments are the norm. It is your responsibility to pay the contractor’s invoices on time. Ongoing communication between the organisation and the contractor are essential.