How to train your non-profit volunteers for success

As a nonprofit, volunteers are the face of your organization. You rely on them to support your work in the community. Because they play such a vital role in your mission, it’s important that they represent your organization appropriately.

You should establish a written procedure or handbook for selecting and training volunteers. This will help you set expectations from the beginning.

In addition, follow these steps for all new volunteers:

Job description. Define the responsibilities of the volunteer, including the main activities they will perform. If the role requires physical labor, public speaking, or other unique requests, state them here.

Background check. If the volunteer will work one-on-one with children, elderly, or other dependents, complete a background check. If they will handle money, consider running a criminal background check as well.

Safety training. Because volunteers are not covered by your workers’ compensation insurance policy, they should undergo training before starting, including how to safely use any tools or machinery.

Volunteer waiver. Volunteers will need to sign a waiver stating they understand the job expectations and risks, as well as the fact that they’re liable for their own injuries. The waiver also serves as an added layer of protection for your nonprofit by discouraging volunteers from filing claims.