by Maria Lahiffe
A volunteer handbook is an essential organizational resource. High-performing organizations require that all staff, paid and unpaid, work directly to advance the strategic plan priorities which have been set by the board and senior leadership. People need resources to make sure they are all pulling in the same direction.
Onboarding is more than just orientation. Orientation is an event, the first step in the process of onboarding. You can use the volunteer handbook throughout the onboarding process, to communicate many things, including
Volunteers contribute far more than time, and in a way that cannot be reduced simply to an equivalent hourly wage. Volunteerism creates a norm of community concern and contribution, of contributing to a collective purpose instead of focusing on individualism. Volunteers contribute a number of benefits to any organization, benefits which should be spelled out in your volunteer handbook. These include:
Only 45% of organizations properly match volunteers’ skills with appropriate assignments. This often happens because a volunteer signs up for a particular posting out of a desire to support your organization, but you’re too busy to find out everything that volunteer is capable of doing. Your volunteer handbook can outline all of the ways volunteers can contribute to your organization. That way, once the initial assignment is completed, or the volunteer wants a bigger challenge, they know they can ask you about specific other needs within your organization.
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