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Volunteer Solutions – Best Practices

This page introduces and shares a Volunteer Management Best Practices template.  The intent is to provide a framework for planning, operating and improving a volunteer program.

What is a Best Practice:  A best practice is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things, e.g., a standard way of complying with legal or ethical requirements.  Source:  Wikipedia.

Background:  This work is part of the Volunteer NKY initiative, one of our “Solutions”.  This tool was developed by a team of Volunteer Coordinators across NKY.  These professionals offered their time and experience to enable volunteerism to be elevated beyond their organizations.  We know the template can only improve as we pilot it and then incorporate the feedback of users.

The starting point for our work was from the Canada Volunteerism InitiativeClick here for their extensive and excellent documentation.  This is a significant resource on its own.  One of our goals was to simplify this long document into a 1-2 page action planning document.


Why This Was Developed:  Volunteer coordinators “come and go” to their roles.  The big organizations have experienced professionals but the smaller ones typically add volunteer coordination to another role.  In general, experience is low.  The tool is intended to help organizations implement sustainable systems and procedures.

Best Practices Framework:  Each of the following key elements are expanded to additional detail with helpful hints on things to consider as you build an action plan.

  • Recognize the need for and value the role of volunteers
  • Define rules and expectations
  • Establish effective volunteer management
  • Reduce risk (client and program)
  • Create clear assignments
  • Generate awareness and recruit
  • Orient, train and develop
  • Provide supervision and coaching
  • Make volunteers feel they belong
  • Recognize contributions

There are instructions on how to use the tool on the “Instructions” tab of the Excel file.

Rollout Plan:

  • Pilot. This tool is currently being piloted.  We are recommending that you use this with the assistance of one of the team members.
  • Workshop. We plan a workshop in early-2017 and will invite the community.

Accessing the Tool:  The template is not posted on this web site.  Please contact Tony Aloise.

Other Resources:

  • CAVA. If you are a volunteer coordinator at a local organization in the NKY/Cincinnati area, we highly recommend that you become a member of the Cincinnati Association of Volunteer Administrators (CAVA).
  • Kentucky Non-Profit Network. Their best practices focus on the total non-profit organization but there is an excellent section on volunteer management.  Click here to view their web site and become a member.