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Managing volunteers

Volunteers, organizations, and the world in general change at such a rapid pace. This means that volunteers are much more different than 20 years ago. People are just as involved as before, but in practice it seems that people want to be approached differently and have different requirements for voluntary work.

On the one hand, volunteers are indispensable in many organizations. They ensure that the mission can be fulfilled and the organization continues to run smoothly. On the other hand, many organizations panic about the shortage of volunteers, even though there are many more people on the edges of the organization who aren’t or don’t want to be considered as a volunteer. The structure of the organization is broader you might think, and different people are involved in different ways. They might feel more or less associated with the organization, and are more or less willing to get involved, often as a one-off or for a brief period time.

How do you encourage and leverage involvement? How can you turn involvement into action? This requires a new perspective. Look at the people who are involved in the organization in a different way. They might be an ex-volunteer, they might blog about the organization, or they might donate to people who run a race for the organization once a year.

Organizations face a lot of pressure when it comes to recruiting new volunteers, managing current ones, involving a wider group of people, and coordinating their activities with those of current volunteers.

You can find old and new resources to provide shape, content, inspiration, or concrete guidance at Volunteer Policy Handbooks | Vrijwilligerswerk.

Attracting and recruiting volunteers

How do you attract the right kind of volunteer? How do you even define the right kind of volunteer? And are you clear on what tasks the volunteer will take on, how long for, and/or how often? What works for one person might not work for another. And recruitment isn’t something than can be done at the drop of a hat; it is easier if you have a clear objective in mind. You can find some tools to help you structure your recruitment here at Volunteer Policy Handbooks | Vrijwilligerswerk.

Support and guidance

How do you support volunteers? How do you deal with differences in age, culture and education, or simply with a group of individuals? Whereas one person might benefit from a large degree of autonomy with occasional guidance, someone else might perform better with a clear description of their role. You can find information on this topic at: Support | Vrijwilligerswerk.

Appraisals and rewards

People respond to appraisals and rewards in their own individual way. Rewards can be expressed in many different ways. They are most effective when they are tailored to the motivation, wishes, and needs of the volunteer: Appraisals and rewards | Vrijwilligerswerk

Diversity and target groups

Our society is a diverse one, something which is likely to be reflected in your organization. Not every approach is suitable for every person. How can you respond to differences between people in a positive way and ensure everyone enjoys working with each other? Of course, it is also important to consider diversity when it comes to recruiting volunteers.

Finding & Binding | Vrijwilligerswerk

Specific ways

There are some very specific ways of performing volunteer work. Online volunteering (doing volunteer work over the internet) is one such way, which is gradually gaining ground as a specific method for organizations to recruit and support volunteers. In the case of social work placements, there is a good chance that you as an organization will be asked to create positions for young people or that young people already apply for a position themselves. How does this work and how can you support these young people? Online volunteering | Vrijwilligerswerk

Organization analysis

It is a good idea to look at your organization as a whole, in line with its strategy and mission. Below you will find various tools to help you, from the environment and the organizational culture to instruments relating to quality.

Organization analysis | Vrijwilligerswerk

Organization forms

When creating a voluntary organization, you need to choose a legal form. What legal form is best for your organization? Voluntary organizations usually opt for a not-for-profit form, either an association or foundation. Below you will find some information on these two legal forms.

Association and foundation

Legal forms – VSBfonds

Visit for further information.

The sites below also contain a lot of information:

Criteria of a volunteer organization | Vrijwilligerswerk
Search | Vrijwilligerswerk

Government policy

What role can a municipality play in local volunteer work? What does a volunteer work policy look like? How can a municipality support volunteer work? Below you will find some information and guidelines useful to both municipalities and organizations.

Government policy | Vrijwilligerswerk

HR policy

What do you expect from your workers (paid and unpaid) and what can they expect from the organization? What rights and obligations do the various parties have and what have they agreed between them? Below you will find some guidelines to provide shape and content to your HR policy.

HR policy | Vrijwilligerswerk

Specific ways

Specific ways of volunteering provide new opportunities and perspectives for organizations. It is a good idea for your organization to think about why you want to do what you want to do and what your expectations are. Then have a good think about how you will do this. It is often advisable to use the first project (ideally a small one) to test the water. Below you will find some information on getting started.

Strategy and policy

It is a good idea to review your mission and vision every now and then. Also look at your activities, products, and services. Are you doing what you set out to do? Are you doing it well? Are you using everyone involved? The materials listed below can help you to analyse the situation.

Strategy and policy | Vrijwilligerswerk

Local volunteer organizations can often do with some support to help them blossom into an organization that plays an active role in the local community – for the benefit of local people, customers, members, and volunteers Below you will find some good examples and tools to help give a boost to local volunteer organizations.