Policies and procedures

Volunteer involving organisations should have policies and procedures that govern their volunteering programs. Similarly, there may be aspects of your organisation’s general policies and procedures that apply to volunteers. It is best practice to provide volunteers with a copy of all organisational policies and procedures and include an overview during induction. Volunteers should always have access to relevant corporate documentation, physically or electronically. The level of detail in your policies and procedures will usually be dictated by the nature of your volunteering programs.

Alignment with the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement

Policies and procedures underpin all eight National Standards. Your organisation may choose to use the National Standards as a basis for your policies and procedures on volunteer involvement. The sample evidence that accompanies each National Standard is a useful guide for the content of your policies and procedures.

What to include

There is no minimum or maximum amount of information your volunteering policies and procedures must include. It is recommended to be comprehensive, but succinct. Include all the information volunteers need to know about the expectations of the organisation, particularly highlighting legal, insurance, and compliance requirements.

Two common structures for volunteering policies and procedures are:

  1. Using the National Standards as a guide
  2. Using the volunteer management cycle as a guide

It is likely that your volunteering policies and procedures will sit alongside your broader organisational policies and procedures. Depending on the size of your organisation, these documents may be condensed together. If there are certain policies and procedures that relate to employees, but not volunteers, or vice versa, make this very clear throughout. When writing policies and procedures, keep your audience in mind and reduce or remove jargon wherever possible. The inclusion of a glossary can be very helpful, especially if your policies and procedures are complex.

Code of Conduct

A Code of Conduct sets out the standards of behaviour expected of staff and contractors, including volunteers. It is a list of behaviours that guide people on how to perform their duties in a professional or ethical way. A Code of Conduct forms part of your organisation’s broader suite of policies. For guidance on how to draft a Code of Conduct and what to include, see Volunteering Australia’s Writing a Code of Conduct resource.

More information

There is a suite of resources on the Volunteering Resource Hub that may assist your organisation with writing or reviewing policies and procedures. The Not-for-profit Law National Volunteer Guide is also an excellent resource to consult for guidance around legal obligations. If you need assistance with writing policies and procedures or have specific questions your local Volunteering Peak Body or Volunteering Support Service will be able to provide place-based support.