Elements of a volunteer position description

July 17, 2013       The NonProfit Times      

Getting a job done right means getting the right person to perform the task. In volunteer management it is important to explicitly discuss the parameters of a position because of the overwhelming number of people who might apply.

In his book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Recruiting & Managing Volunteers, John L. Lipp, outlined basic subjects that should be included in a position description.

  • Duties: Be as specific as you can when outlining a position. Volunteers can get you into trouble once they do things outside their scope.
  • Supervisor: Although many organizations have a “volunteer manager,” some larger organizations might not have someone directly involved with all volunteers. Make sure you explicitly identify their point of contact.
  • Commitment: Be as realistic as possible when telling people about the time commitment. If someone becomes interested you can also ask how long the person would like to work.
  • Skills needed: This area allows you to discuss what skills you’d like brought to your organization. It helps separate people who may not be qualified for the job. But be specific if you’d like someone with expertise in certain software or mental health issues.
  • Training provided: Be sure to indicate in the description what sort of training is required. Sometimes the training organizations offer is one of the greatest benefits of volunteering.
  • Benefits: Talk about the benefits volunteers will receive while helping whether they are tangible or intrinsic.