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Running a volunteer induction

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What volunteer inductions are

Volunteer inductions introduce new volunteers to your organisation and their role.

They help volunteers feel more confident and able to start their roles well. This is an important part of offering a good volunteering experience.

Volunteers come from many backgrounds, with different skills, experiences and motivations. It’s important to run volunteer inductions that work for your volunteers, as well as the role they will be in.

What to include

Start by covering practical information about a volunteer’s role. You should:

  • check they understand their role and what you expect of them
  • introduce them to other staff and volunteers
  • show them around the place where they will be volunteering
  • explain who they can go to if they have any questions or problems
  • show them where they can find the resources they need
  • let them know about breaks
  • explain how to claim expenses
  • ask them to shadow other experienced volunteers or paid members of staff
  • make sure they have anything else they need to be able to volunteer successfully, such as flexibility around childcare.

Sharing more information

It's also good to share more information about your organisation and the role.

This often includes:

  • policies and procedures, such as safeguarding, equal opportunities or data protection
  • the organisation's history, values and structure
  • how to deal with complaints and areas of concern
  • different aspects of the volunteer’s role
  • your organisation’s volunteer agreement.

You should go through this information with the volunteer. Encourage them to ask questions about anything they aren't sure about.

It often helps volunteers if you also give them this information in a handbook or pack. Ask them if they need the information in another format, such as large print or as an audio recording.

After the volunteer induction

Continue to check in with new volunteers after their induction. This will help you to understand how they work, what support they need, and what they hope to gain from their role. It will also give them another chance to ask questions or request more support if they need to.

Some volunteers will need a longer induction process or more training to do their role. This will depend on the role and level of resources available. Make sure it’s clear to volunteers what their induction period will involve and how long it will last.

Last reviewed: 12 April 2021

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 12 April 2021

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