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What am I agreeing to?

How can you ensure that you get volunteers with the coveted skill set that your organization is lacking?  And how can your organization ensure that the time and energy of your valued volunteers is being best utilized?  It all starts at the beginning – with a well-crafted volunteer position description. 


I participated in a webinar hosted by VolunteerMatch earlier today, “Writing Accurate and Useful Position Descriptions” which emphasized the importance of this critical activity.  At a minimum, a good volunteer position description should include the following:

  • Position title
  • Description of reporting relationships (who do they report to?  who reports to them?)
  • Description of role
  • Primary responsibilities
  • Secondary responsibilities
  • Skills and experience required
  • Time commitment
  • Specific deliverables, if applicable

If your organization does not already have a good set of volunteer position descriptions, get your volunteers involved in writing their own descriptions.  This could be an eye-opener – you may find that the position expectations of the volunteer differ from that of the board.  Tie the role back to the organizational mission – show how the responsibilities of this position fit in big-picture and what the impacts are to the association. 

Key to providing a valuable volunteer experience is to be respectful of volunteer time – this can be accomplished by ensuring that the required skill set for a chosen role is identified.  This in effect creates a career path within your organization and allows a volunteer to maximize their growth as well as providing a realistic snapshot of position expectations.  Your volunteer needs to know what they are agreeing to.

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