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Visit Scotland | Alba

Volunteers support hundreds of small and major events across Scotland every year. So, it's essential that the volunteer process is effectivity managed.

This will ensure that the event runs as smoothly as possible and that the volunteers have a positive experience.

After all, when people had good experiences, they're far more likely to volunteer at your event again in the future.

1. The difference between volunteers and employees

It’s extremely important to recognise the differences between employees and volunteers. When developing a volunteer programme, please make sure these differences are clearly communicated.

The following four points are good to keep in mind when drafting a volunteer programme.

  • Volunteer agreement

    A volunteer may have a volunteer agreement whilst an employee will have a contract of employment.

  • Role descriptor

    A volunteer may have a role descriptor which covers what is expected of them at an event. A paid employee, meanwhile, will have a job description with their obligated duties.

  • Appropriate responsibilities

    Volunteers are not paid members of staff. This should be reflected in their level of responsibility.

  • Different shift patterns

    Volunteers and employees may not always work the same shift patterns, depending on the nature of the event. Generally, volunteers expect a more flexible schedule.

2. Important things to consider when working with volunteers

When working with volunteers at an event, please consider the following:

  • is there a volunteer policy?
  • are there clear volunteer role descriptions?
  • do you have a volunteer agreement?
  • what is the recruitment and selection process for volunteers?
  • will sufficient training be provided for volunteers pre-event?
  • are volunteers clear on their role and what is expected of them during the event?
  • is there an evaluation and feedback process post-event?

3. More volunteer resources

Volunteer Scotland is an excellent resource for event organisers who want to make a volunteer programme.

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