by Maria Lahiffe
Writing good job descriptions is a key step in your volunteer recruitment. Job descriptions are the foundation of many important processes, such as recruitment, selection, setting expectations, training, performance management, and risk management.
Start by developing a list of job tasks and identifying necessary qualifications, which are directly linked to your organization’s mandate. Read here for a blog post on how to do this. Once you know what you need, use this template to write consistent job descriptions which clearly explain the expectations of the role. Click here for a printable version of this template.
Be specific and clearly indicate the degree of responsibility. Examples include Tutor, Firefighter, Assistant to the Customer Services Manager, Friendly Visitor
State the mission and how this position helps to further the mission
Indicate to whom the volunteer will report, requirements for progress reports and supervisory meetings, and any support the volunteer will receive, including training, readings, in-house mentoring, and other guidance.
What are the measurable tasks? Measurable outcomes can serve as one indicator for performance appraisals, recognition, and completion of the job.
What exactly is the volunteer going to do? Clearly outlined duties will minimize misunderstandings about the organization’s expectations for the volunteer.
What is the schedule? Will the volunteer be coming to the main office for two hours on the same day each week, or will the volunteer be working from home on a flexible schedule, but expected to provide two hours of service per week?
Even if the assignment is ongoing, it is helpful to put an end date so that the position description can be re-evaluated and all parties given an opportunity to evaluate the success of the arrangement.
Include here the minimum qualifications needed. This includes any formal qualifications, such as university degrees, college diplomas, and certifications such as CPR or Serving it Right. It also includes skills which can be acquired through education, job experience, or life experience. Finally, specify personal attributes which would be useful in this role, e.g. patient, outgoing, able to work independently.
Include here any items which may tap into a volunteer’s motivation to fill this position. Examples include reimbursement for expenses, training in a specific skill, or something less tangible like the opportunity to brighten the day of a homebound senior.
Sign and date the job description.
Strong job descriptions are one of the aspects of running a strong volunteer program. Volunteer Ottawa offers a comprehensive suite of courses related to volunteer management. Click here for more information, and to register. Subscribe to our Event RSS Feed to be among the first to know when a new workshop is added to the schedule.
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