Writing a volunteer role description
There are many types and styles of job descriptions – the following is just one example of the types of information that you should include.
A volunteer’s identification. Give this as much prestige as possible.
- Youth Leader, rather than Babysitter
- Office Coordinator, rather than Clerk
- Special Needs Assistant, rather than School Volunteer
The name of your organisation
What does your organisation do? Write concise statements reflecting the goals of the services volunteers will perform. Take the perspective of a volunteer and use the goals statement to answer the question, “Why am I doing this?”
- Minor soccer coaches will manage their teams and ensure each child is given equal opportunity to participate and enjoy the sport.
- Yellow Box fund raisers will collect donations dedicated towards rebuilding North American vole populations.
- Technology for Tots teachers will help children of low income families learn how to use information technology and the Internet.
Duties & Responsibilities
Be as specific as possible, list each duty and responsibility of the job.
Qualifications & Requirements
What qualifications or equipment are needed?
Include necessary education, languages, any age limitations, preferred skills, credentials, time requirements, physical resources and human qualities necessary for performing duties.
Specific qualifications, references and screening requirements should be required for volunteers working with vulnerable populations (youth, seniors, special needs clients). Similar precautions should be undertaken for positions involving management of money, assets and confidential information.Be careful not to over qualify for the position - you could lose potential volunteers due to overly stringent educational or skills requirements, as well as burdensome time commitments. Specifics such as a car, insurance, and credentials should also be noted.
Lines of Communication
Who will show volunteers what to do?
Identify where in the chain of command a volunteer will be working, and who will supervise her/his activities. In some cases, this will be a staff person or another volunteer with direct responsibility for the service. Alternately, it may be a person or a committee of the organization’s board of directors.
Orientation & Training
This includes hours of training and orientation available to volunteers, and may identify the people conducting it.
Times Needed & Place of Work
This should include hours of duty, days of the week, and where the volunteer is expected to perform the services.
The minimum amount of time needed from the volunteer should be noted. This commitment is based on your organisation’s investment in training and supervising the volunteer.
List any benefits available to the volunteer, including payment of expenses. For example: free parking, liability insurance, freebies, and discounts from corporate sponsors. Other, less tangible, benefits can also be noted, such as job experience and references.
Aspects of the job which may be frustrating, such as record keeping and attendance at meetings.
This includes aspects of the job which can provide the volunteer with personal satisfaction and learning. For example: working with animals, learning about political lobbying.
List contact name and other important information, such as phone & fax numbers and e-mail.