Providing a thorough induction is key to having happy and effective volunteers. Here is a checklist of good practice that you can use to assess your volunteer induction programme.
Is the language you use plain English and free of internal or sectoral jargon? This is helpful for all volunteers, as well as those whose first language is not English, or who have a learning disability. Useful guides on plain English can be found on the Plain English Campaign website.
Do you cater for different learning styles? Some people learn better by either seeing, hearing or practising/doing tasks (or a combination of all of these). Could you be more creative in the methods that you use to deliver information? For example, could you use case studies, competitions, role-plays, ‘show and tell’, question and answer sessions, or work shadowing?
How do you check that the new volunteer has absorbed and understood the induction information? This can be done using quizzes, asking questions that check understanding, or asking other volunteers in the group to answer a question. Some volunteers may take longer to understand – can you provide some extra support for them?
If your induction is online, do you have alternatives for volunteers who are digitally excluded?
In your induction, do you cover volunteer wellbeing, both in the workplace and remote working (if applicable)?
Does your induction include introductions to other volunteers and staff? If appropriate, are volunteers introduced to senior staff? This can help them to feel valued.
Do you allocate a dedicated supervisor or contact person to each volunteer?
If appropriate, have you considered having a ‘buddy’ or mentor for new volunteers, particularly if they need additional support? This could be a staff member or another volunteer.
Do you have a Volunteer Induction Checklist? This is a list of items to be covered during the induction, including information, policies and procedures.
If you would like advice or support with reviewing your volunteer induction, or a sample of a Volunteer Induction Checklist, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org