Volunteer induction and training

How will your volunteers know how to carry out their role?

  • Induction is the process of introducing new volunteers to the organisation and their role in it.
  • Training should cover anything they need to know to do what you need them to do.

Hello and welcome to your induction

Think ahead about what your volunteer(s) will need to know and understand when they arrive at your organisation. Involve as many members of your team as you can.

Remember that new volunteers might be self conscious and too shy to ask questions.

Try to balance the induction by giving them information on paper with informal chats, introductions to the team and practical demonstrations. It might be best to spread this over their first few sessions with you.

You might include:

  • Background and aims of the organisation
  • A tour of any premises
  • Their volunteer role description and role agreement
  • How to use any relevant equipment
  • Who’s who and what they do
  • How to claim expenses
  • Health and safety information
  • Who will help and supervise them
  • Problem-solving procedures
  • Your volunteer handbook (if you have one)

Training

Training can help volunteers to feel valued motivated and confident in their role

Formal or informal?

Informal or ‘on the job’ training could simply involve taking the time to explain tasks or information. It can be helpful to offer volunteers a chance to practise so that you can check that they understand in a safe and supportive way.

Formal training might happen in more of a classroom setting, either inside the organisation or on external courses or online.

Working out whether volunteers need formal or informal training should be part of their regular supervision sessions (see link).

Think about:

  • Costs – set a budget for training costs, find out about free courses or you could share resources with other similar organisations.
  • Ensuring training is relevant to the volunteer task description or it can be seen as a form of payment and thus creates a legal contract.
  • Making sure that training is open to all volunteers and is not reliant on them having volunteered for a set period of time.