This volunteer policy sets out the principles and practice by which we involve volunteers and is relevant to staff, volunteers and trustees within Unite 4 Humanity. It aims to create a common understanding and to clarify roles and responsibilities to ensure the highest standards are maintained in relation to the management of volunteers.
The volunteer handbook gives further details about the support and procedures in place for volunteers.
We recognise volunteers as an integral part of Unite 4 Humanity. Their contribution supports our mission and strategic aims, and complements the role of paid staff. We aim to encourage and support volunteer involvement to ensure that volunteering benefits Unite 4 Humanity, its clients and the volunteers themselves.
Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that paid staff are clear about the role of volunteers, and to foster good working relationships between paid staff and volunteers. Volunteers will not be used to replace staff.
We are committed to offering a flexible range of opportunities and to encouraging a diversity of people to volunteer with us, including those from under-represented groups such as youth, people with a disability and older people.
We recognise that there are costs associated with volunteer involvement and will seek to ensure adequate financial and staffing resources are available for the development and support of volunteering.
We recognise that people have a right to participate in the life of their communities through volunteering and can contribute in many ways. We recognise our responsibility to organise volunteering efficiently and sensitively so that the valuable gift of the volunteer’s time is best used to the mutual advantage of all concerned.
Who is a volunteer?
Volunteers are individuals who undertake activity on behalf of our organisation, unpaid and of their own free choice.
The Government Volunteering Policy defines volunteering as activity which
is undertaken freely, by choice
is undertaken to be of public/ community benefit
is not undertaken for financial gain
Work experience placements and internships are not the same as volunteering. Please refer to HR for further information about these. Trustees are volunteers with responsibility for governance of Unite 4 Humanity.
Volunteers may be involved on a one – off, short term or on a longer term, regular basis. They may be involved:
in the direct delivery of our services
on our board of management as trustees
in community engagement to raise awareness of our work
in one off events and promotional activities
in our offices or in community venues
Volunteers are valued for:
bringing additional skills and new perspectives to Unite 4 Humanitys
enabling us to be more responsive and flexible in our approach
championing our cause within the wider community
enhancing the quality of our work and of client experience
promoting the wellbeing of users of services, staff, local communities and themselves.
Roles and responsibilities
Trustees have the responsibility for organising the development and co-ordination of voluntary activity within Unite 4 Humanity, including volunteering policies and procedures and the welfare of volunteers.
All volunteers will have a designated staff member/volunteer for guidance, support and supervision. Staff responsibilities for volunteers will be explicitly referred to in their job/role description.
The volunteer role is based on trust and mutual understanding. There is no enforceable obligation, contractual or otherwise, for the volunteer to attend or to undertake particular tasks or for Unite 4 Humanity to provide continuing opportunities for voluntary involvement, provision of training or benefits.
However, there is a presumption of mutual support and reliability. Reciprocal expectations are acknowledged – both of what Unite 4 Humanity expects of volunteers and what volunteers expect of Unite 4 Humanity.
Unite 4 Humanity expects volunteers:
to be reliable and honest
to uphold Unite 4 Humanity’s values and comply with organisational policies
to make the most of opportunities given, eg for training
to contribute positively to the aims of Unite 4 Humanity and avoid bringing Unite 4 Humanity into disrepute
to carry out tasks within agreed guidelines
Volunteers can expect:
to have clear information about what is and is not expected of them
to receive adequate support and training
to be insured and to volunteer in a safe environment
to be treated with respect and in a non-discriminatory manner
to receive out of pocket expenses
to have opportunities for personal development
to be recognised and appreciated
to be able to say ‘no’ to anything which they consider to be unrealistic or unreasonable
to know what to do if something goes wrong
Recruitment and selection
Equal opportunities principles will be adhered to in recruiting volunteers. Opportunities will be widely promoted to attract interest from different sectors of the community. Positive action to target recruitment may be used where appropriate.
Induction and training
Volunteers will be given induction and training appropriate to the specific tasks to be undertaken.
Support and supervision
Volunteers will be offered support and supervision as appropriate and this is discussed during induction. Arrangements vary according to the volunteer and the role undertaken, and may include telephone support, group meetings or one to one reviews.
Volunteers will be given the opportunity, where relevant, to share their views and opinions with Unite 4 Humanity’s wider staff, at staff meetings etc.
Formal recognition of the contribution of volunteers is expressed through annual reports, website articles and social media.
Dealing with problems
Unite 4 Humanity aims to treat all volunteers fairly, objectively and consistently. It seeks to ensure that volunteers’ views are heard, noted and acted upon promptly.
We will attempt to deal with any problems informally and at the earliest opportunity. All volunteers will have a named person to whom they can turn in the case of any difficulty.
Volunteers will be made aware of Unite 4 Humanity’s complaints policy and how to use it. They will also be made aware of how inappropriate behaviour by volunteers will be addressed by Unite 4 Humanity.
Volunteers will be given clear information about what expenses can be claimed and how to make a claim.
When volunteers move on from volunteering with us they will be asked to provide feedback on the volunteering experience.
Volunteers who have remained with Unite 4 Humanity for at least 3 months will have the right to request a reference. Volunteers will be supported to move on to other options.
The information provided in this sheet is intended for guidance only. It is not a substitute for professional advice and we cannot accept any responsibility for loss occasioned as a result of any person acting or refraining from acting upon it.