Whether you are recruiting volunteers for a festival, sporting event, conference, or nonprofit program, they will all have the same basic questions and training requirements. Every volunteer wants to know where to park, what to wear, and how to contact you. That’s where a volunteer handbook comes in handy. Rather than exchanging hundreds of emails answering the same basic questions, try creating a single document to do the work.
A volunteer handbook is a sign of relief for your volunteer team since it gives them all the information they need to show up and work. Think of a volunteer handbook as your FAQ and policy and training document – its goal is to inform and support your volunteers.
Creating Your Volunteer Handbook
So now that you understand how valuable a volunteer handbook is to you and your volunteer team, it’s time to start thinking about what you need in it. Every event and organization will have unique requirements for a volunteer handbook, but we have compiled a helpful list to get you started.
1. A Warm Welcome Letter
This section is your chance to welcome and thank your volunteers while explaining the purpose of the volunteer handbook. Take this opportunity to inspire your volunteer teams, such as sharing some quotes from past volunteers and their experiences. Show your appreciation and explain volunteers’ positive impact on your program, event, or initiative.
2. About Us and Mission Statement
This section of your volunteer handbook introduces your new volunteers to your organization and mission. Explain how volunteers are needed to meet your organization’s goals and how outstanding volunteerism is to the culture of the event or initiative. This section should inform the volunteer who they are volunteering for and why their donation of time is worthwhile.
3. Leadership Team
Here, you will introduce all your volunteers to the leadership team they will report to. We recommend using pictures in this section to familiarize your leadership team. It is also helpful to state the roles of each leader to help volunteers identify who is best to contact when an issue arises.
4. Code of Conduct
This is your chance to clearly state your expectations and policies for your volunteers. Consider outlining things like dress code and standards of conduct and behavior.
5. Day of Logistics
Try to provide volunteers with all the information they need to thrive when they arrive at work. View this as the FAQ section of the handbook. Here is where you can clearly state necessary logistical information, such as where to park, the meeting location, and what you provide for your volunteers (like lunch and swag bags).
6. Emergency Plan
This is essential to your volunteer handbook since you must communicate your emergency plans to your volunteer team. This should outline various scenarios and what they must do if the circumstance requires them to act. We recommend making this document section accessible through your volunteer mobile app, allowing them to reference it if needed.
A comprehensive map of your venue is handy for volunteers. A map will help volunteers find the location of each of their shifts and allow them to help guide attendees as well. A map is a must-have item for your handbook.
8. Volunteer Roles
This section describes all your volunteer roles. The description should clearly outline the qualifications and duties to give your volunteers an idea of what they will do when they arrive.
9. Volunteer Tools
In this section, you should outline the technology tools available to your volunteers and how they should use them. For example, hundreds of thousands of volunteers have used the Bloomerang Volunteer Mobile app to access their shift schedule, check in and out of shifts, access documents, and communicate with the leadership team.
Now it’s your turn to start creating a fantastic volunteer handbook! We have created a free volunteer handbook template to get you started. Customize the template to show off your brand and communicate your unique requirements to your volunteers. Click below to download the template.