This section provides resources to help plan your volunteering service. You can also click on the links to any of the other sections below.
When planning any volunteering service it is important to know the benefits of volunteering, what costs might be involved and how to use a structured process to plan next steps.
First check your progress: You can access a simple checklist of planning steps here, to see what you are already doing well and what gaps you might want to fill.
Knowing the benefits of volunteering
Being clear about the benefits of volunteering can help you see all the good things that working with volunteers will bring to your organisation. This helps to make a case to senior management or Trustees for your organisation to explore using volunteer support. Resources that might help you include:
- Quick facts and figures about the benefits of having volunteers
- Summary of why volunteering is useful
- Case studies of volunteer services
- Ways to calculate the value gained from volunteers for use in business cases
Knowing the costs of volunteering
Volunteers donate their time, but there are still costs associated with setting up or growing a group of volunteers. Being clear about the costs of maintaining a volunteer service is essential so you budget appropriately and so you don’t set up a service that can’t be sustained. Resources that might help you include:
Once you’ve reviewed the benefits and costs of working with volunteers, it helps to take a structured approach if you want to move forward with growing a service of your own. There are lots of resources available to help with project planning, but there are some special steps, policies and tips to think about when creating a volunteer service.
It might be important to ask families or service users about their needs and preferences so you can develop your services around them.
It is also important to involve staff in planning the service so that they are clear about the remit and don’t feel that their roles are threatened by volunteers. The more staff teams are engaged at the start, the more likely they are to promote the service and refer families.
Some organisations have found that it takes quite a lot of time to think through everything needed, create policies and train and support volunteers. Some organisations hire a part-time or full-time volunteer coordinator to lead a service like this rather than trying to fit it into someone’s existing role.
Resources that might help you include:
- Example of project planning guide
- Step-by-step guide of things to think about when building a volunteer service
- Example of a policy outlining how an organisation will manage volunteers
- Top tips for growing a volunteer service
- Top tips to think about for NHS services working with volunteers
- Example of a survey that could be adapted to ask families or service users their needs
- Tips for engaging staff and families in planning
- Example job description for recruiting a volunteer coordinator
- Examples of policies and procedures to think through when planning
- Example Timeline for Setting up Family Support Volunteering Service
- Partnership Top Tips