Whether you are recruiting volunteers for a festival, sporting event, conference, or a Nonprofit program, they will all have the same basic questions and training requirements. All volunteers will want to know where to park, what to wear, and how to contact you. That's where a volunteer handbook comes in handy. Rather than exchanging hundreds of emails answering the same basic questions, try creating a single document to do the work.
A volunteer handbook is basically a sign of relief for your volunteer team; it gives them all the information they need to show up and work. Think of a volunteer handbook as both, your FAQ and your policy and training document; its goal is to inform and support your volunteers.
Creating Your Volunteer Handbook
So now that you understand how valuable a volunteer handbook is to both you and your volunteer team and time to start thinking about what you need to have in it. Every event and organization will have there own unique requirements for a volunteer handbook, but we have put together a helpful list to get you started.
1- A Warm Welcome Letter
This your chance to welcome and thank your volunteers while explaining the purpose of the volunteer handbook. Take this opportunity to inspire excitement in your volunteer team, share some quotes of past volunteers and their experience. Make sure to show your appreciation and explain the positive impact volunteers make for your program, event, or initiative.
2- About Us and Mission Statement
This section of your volunteer handbook for introducing your new volunteers to your organization and your mission. Explain how volunteers are needed to meet your organization's goals and how outstanding volunteerism is to the culture of the event or initiative. This section should inform the volunteer who they are volunteering for and why their donation of time is worthwhile.
3- Leadership Team
This is where you will introduce all your volunteers to the leadership team they will be reporting too. We recommend using pictures in this section to make your leadership team more familiar. It is also helpful to state the roles of each leadership member to help volunteers identify who is best to contact when an issue arises.
4- Code of Conduct
This is your chance to clearly state your code of conduct and policies for your volunteers. Consider outlining things like dress code and standards of conduct and behavior. Consider this section, where you need to set clear expectations with your volunteers.
5- Day of Logistics
Think of this as the FAQ section of the handbook. This is where you can clearly state necessary logistical information like where to park, where to meet and what you are providing for your volunteers ( lunch and swag bags). Try and provide volunteers with all the information they need to thrive when they show up to work.
6- Emergency Plan
This is a particularly important section of your volunteer handbook. You need to communicate your emergency plans to your volunteer team. This should outline various scenarios and what they need to if the circumstance requires them to take action. We recommend making this section of the document accessible through your volunteer mobile app, allowing them to reference it if required.
A comprehensive map of your venue is handy for volunteers. A map will help volunteers find the location of each of their shifts and allow them to help attendees locate things as well. This is a must-have item for your handbook.
8- Volunteer Roles
This is the section where you should describe all your volunteer roles. The description should clearly outline the qualifications, duties to provide your volunteers with an idea of what they will be doing when they arrive.
9- Volunteer Tools
In this section, you should outline the technology tools available to your volunteers and how they should use them. For example, hundreds of thousands of volunteers have used the InitLive Mobile app to access their shift schedule, check-in, and out of shifts, access documents, and communicate with the leadership team.
Now it's your turn to start creating a fantastic volunteer handbook! We have created a free volunteer handbook template to get you started. Remember to customize the template to show off your brand and communicate your unique requirements to your volunteer. Click below to download the template.