Playing by the Rules: Creating an Effective Volunteer Handbook

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When was the last time you reviewed your Volunteer Handbook or Policies and Procedures Manual? It's probably been too long. Learn how to create a living document that can help both paid and volunteer staff be better informed and know what is expected of them. A good Volunteer Handbook can also help you better identify and deal with challenging volunteers. Whether you're just starting to create a Handbook or if you're looking for best practices on information to include, this webinar will evaluate the Handbook you have and help you create a stronger framework for your volunteer engagement program.

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  • @Yvette Wingate I am wondering as well. I was not able to attend and would like to catch up on it because it is beneficial.
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  • Is there a way to download the audio of this seminar?
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  • Wonderful webinar that helped me get started thinking about our volunteer handbook for Memory Care Café! Thank you so very much.
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  • Extemely useful webinar. Thanks!
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Playing by the Rules: Creating an Effective Volunteer Handbook

  1. 1. Playing by the Rules: Creating an EffectiveVolunteer Handbook Jennifer Bennett @JenBennettCVA CVA, Senior Manager, Education & TrainingJennifer Bennett, CVA, Senior Manager, Education & @ItsMattWallace Matt Wallace Training Senior Associate, Nonprofit Relations 1
  2. 2. Agenda• Why Handbooks are important• What goes into a Handbook? • Sections and Components• Getting buy-in for policies• Enforcing the policies• Putting Handbooks to use in your program• Evaluating your current Handbook 2
  3. 3. Why Handbooks Are Important• Set the stage for volunteer engagement • Help volunteers and paid staff understand how they work together• Share your philosophy or goals • With volunteers • With paid staff• Create a single set of rules • Base the volunteer handbook on employee handbook• Living document - Update as program changes 3
  4. 4. What Goes into a Handbook?Things you want a volunteer to know as part of your organization Things to know early on, or before volunteers start.• Information on the Organization • Mission, vision, values • Philosophy of volunteer engagement • Welcome letter, history of organization • Information on clients, programs, funding • Organization structure chart, Staff Directory • Benefits of volunteering 4
  5. 5. What Goes into a Handbook?Things everyone needs to know as part of your organization May exist in employee handbook, work with HR to identify/outline• Guidelines for Participation • Building or facility policies - smoking, pets, etc. • Policies for a safe work place - ADA, discrimination/harassment, reporting accidents, emergency procedures • Policies for understanding org culture - parking, break room etiquette, dress code • General codes of conduct, cultural statements 5
  6. 6. What Goes into a Handbook?Things volunteers need to know. Policies specifically for volunteers. May also include position specific information.• Volunteer specific policies or procedures • Volunteer code or conduct, Ethics of volunteering • Actions volunteers must take - recording hours, finding substitutes, completing background checks • Policies for all volunteers - speaking with the media, representing the organization, IP and real property • Training requirements or pathways • Policies for specific positions - front desk, client interaction 6
  7. 7. What Goes into a Handbook?What to do when things go wrong. Base these on existing organization policies. Work to ensure volunteer buy-in.• Problem solving and disciplinary procedures • Conflicts between volunteers, between volunteers and clients, volunteers and staff • Include what volunteers should do if they have a conflict with you • What policies must be followed/can’t be broken • Outline process for dismissal for policy violations - warnings, recourse for volunteers • Include termination procedures 7
  8. 8. Getting Buy-In• Engage volunteers in the process of developing handbook and policies • Allow volunteers to define their own code of conduct • Include volunteers in the enforcement or monitoring of policies• Help the organization understand what these policies mean • Dependability/reliability of volunteers • What employees should do if they have conflicts with volunteers 8
  9. 9. Getting Buy-In• Present information at the right time • Introduce ideas when volunteers are receptive • Visit important policies more than once • Include key policies in more than one way in more than one place• Document the understanding and the responsibility • Acknowledgement Form • Ongoing updates, trainings, and discussions of policies and procedures 9
  10. 10. Enforcing the Policies• Include the enforcement plan in the handbook • Everyone knows the rules and reference the policies• Be prepared to follow through • Policies are only effective if they are enforced• Don’t be the only policeman • Create leadership positions for volunteers • Engage volunteers in the planning, writing and training • Empower volunteers to enforce and monitor their own community 10
  11. 11. Put the Handbook to Use• It’s a living document • Keep paid and volunteer staff engaged with ongoing updates or changes• Use it to create orientations, position descriptions, trainings• Modify sections for different programs/needs • Create one-pagers for episodic roles • Pull sections on intellectual property to include in pro bono consultant agreements 11
  12. 12. Evaluating your Handbook• What can you start with? • Employee handbook, HR policies and procedures• What needs to be added? • Develop policies or procedures to address probable situations• Don’t work alone. • Work with volunteers and paid staff to evaluate what you have, determine what needs to be included, and to write, train on, and enforce the new policies • Recruit an HR profession to help 12
  13. 13. ResourcesLearning CenterFind upcoming webinar dates, how-to videos and morehttp://www.volunteermatch.org/nonprofits/learningcenter/VolunteerMatch CommunityAsk and answer questions after the webinar – use keywords Volunteer Handbookhttp://community.volunteermatch.org/volunteerRelated Webinar Topics:•Walking the Walk: Engage Volunteers in your Volunteer Engagement Program•Creating a Comprehensive and Engaging Volunteer Training Program•Successful Volunteer Interview Strategies 13
  14. 14. Thanks for attending!Join us online: Like us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/VolunteerMatch Follow us on Twitter: @VolunteerMatch Visit Engaging Volunteers, our nonprofit blog: blogs.volunteermatch.org/engagingvolunteers/For any questions contact:Jennifer Bennett (415) 321-3639@JenBennettCVAjbennett@volunteermatch.org 14
  15. 15. Volunteer Information HandbookThis handbook is intended as a sample document only. Please refer to your organization’sspecific policies and procedures for content.
  16. 16. Table of ContentsAbout the Handbook………………………………………………………………….. 3Policies and Procedures………………………………………………………………. 3Attendance and Absenteeism………………………………………………………... 3Ending Your Volunteer Service...............................…………………………………. 4Problem Solving Procedure…………………………………………………………... 5Confidentiality Agreement…………………………………………………………… 6Policy Against Harassment…………………………………………………………... 6Smoking………………………………………………………………………………... 6Pets…………………………………………………………………………………….. 7Solicitation……………………………………………………………………………... 7Substance Abuse……………………………………………………………………... 7Privacy in General…………………………………………………………………….. 7Email and Voicemail Usage………………………………………………………….. 7Useful Information……………………………………………………………………. 8Holiday Schedule……………………………………………………………………… 8AppendicesHandbook Receipt AcknowledgementNon-Disclosure AgreementSample Handbook Page 2 VolunteerMatch
  17. 17. Thank you for volunteering with the Library!About the LibraryLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla sed est vel tortor hendreritdignissim eget at felis. Suspendisse potenti. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis disparturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Morbi pulvinar ullamcorper lorem, sagittis dapibuserat posuere ac. Sed fermentum, lorem vel sagittis pulvinar, orci purus porta nisl, in tinciduntest nulla non risus. Mauris tellus ante, semper sit amet ornare ut, elementum eu tortor. Sedscelerisque fermentum lectus ac dignissim. Praesent eu odio justo, egestas tristique velit.Maecenas malesuada vehicula quam ac iaculis. Nam dignissim sagittis diam. Curabitur tortorurna, dignissim et consectetur in, aliquet a sapien.About the HandbookThis handbook is designed to introduce you to the Library and to provide a basic overview ofthe policies and procedures which provide all of us – paid and volunteer staff – with guidanceand direction. Much of the information contained here is identical to the information containedin our Employee Information Handbook. As a volunteer staff member we extend to you many ofthe same rights as paid staff with regards to the work environment, necessary job training,supervision, evaluation, and recognition.In return we expect you to honor your commitments to the Library, respect other staffmembers – both paid and volunteer - and perform your assigned duties to the best of yourabilities.As our organization grows and changes, there will be a need to modify the policies, practicesand other information described in this Handbook. When such changes occur, you will benotified by an announcement or update. It is your responsibility to keep your handbook currentand to be informed about policies and changes that affect you.If you have any questions or need any clarification of the information contained in thishandbook please contact the Volunteer Program Manager.POLICIES AND PROCEDURESAttendance and AbsenteeismAs a volunteer staff member we depend on you to complete your scheduled shifts. We dounderstand that from time to time certain situations may arise that prevent you from doing so.Please alert the Volunteer Program Manager of any scheduled absences – such as vacation – asfar in advance as possible so that an appropriate substitute may be found. In the event of anunscheduled absence – illness or emergency – please alert the Volunteer Program Manager asSample Handbook Page 3 VolunteerMatch
  18. 18. soon as possible, preferably before your scheduled shift begins. If absenteeism becomesexcessive your volunteer relationship with the Library will be reevaluated.Reviews or Progress ReportsMany volunteers consider volunteer work as a transition path to nonprofit employment, or as agreat way to develop new professional skills. If you are interested in pursuing this course theVolunteer Program Manager will help you establish goals, and will provide progress reports or areview as requested.Volunteer Personnel FilesYour personnel files are confidential and consist of written documents retained by the VolunteerProgram Manager. The volunteer’s personnel file can be only reviewed by the volunteer, thePresident, the Chief Operating Officer (COO), and the Volunteer Program Manager.This file contains basic contact information and records about your volunteer service with theLibrary.Representing the OrganizationVolunteers are only authorized to act as a representative of the Organization if specificallytasked with this responsibility in your volunteer job description. Please consult with, and receivepermission from, the Volunteer Program Manager before engaging in any actions which mayaffect or hold the organization liable including but not limited to, public statements to the press,signing contracts or entering into financial agreements, or lobbying or forming partnerships withother organizations.Ending Your Volunteer ServiceYou may resign from your volunteer service with the Organization at any time. We request thatyou notify the Volunteer Program Manager ideally two weeks prior to your departure andrequest that you complete the Exit Interview process.Disciplinary PracticesThe following guidelines may be used in some instances at the sole discretion of the Library:Step 1: Oral warning with documentation in the individual’s personnel file.Step 2: Written warning to individual and copy to personnel file.Step 3: Written warning with suspension – documentation to personnel file.Step 4: Termination/DismissalThese guidelines are based on cumulative infractions, regardless of whether the infraction is ofthe same general nature as a previous warning.Sample Handbook Page 4 VolunteerMatch
  19. 19. The use of these disciplinary practices in no way alters the fact that your volunteering with theLibrary is “at-will”.Problem Solving ProcedureWhen a group of people work and volunteer together, problems may arise. It is important to allof us that such problems are solved as quickly as possible. Occasionally, however, it may benecessary to investigate certain problems in greater detail. Our problem-solving procedureprovides you with the opportunity to have a review of any problem, dispute, ormisunderstanding that arise during in the course of your volunteering.Step 1: You may submit a problem in writing to the Volunteer Program Manager withinthree (3) working days after the problem becomes known to you, He/she is interested in thesolution of any The Library problem you, as a member of the team, may have. He/she willattempt to resolve your problem at this initial meeting. If unable to reach a mutually agreedupon settlement, the Volunteer Program Manager will investigate the situation further, andwithin three (3) working days, meet you to give his/her final answer in writing. If you are sillnot satisfied, then you may request a Step 2 meeting.Step 2: This step consists of submitting, in writing, the problem to the COO within three(3) working days of receiving the Step One response. The COO will schedule a meeting withyou and the Volunteer Manager as soon as practicable. At this meeting the COO will attempt toresolve the problem, if he/she is unable to do so, he/she will provide you with a writtenresolution within three (3) working days. This will be the final determination.DismissalDismissal of a volunteer is a serious consideration. Before a volunteer is dismissed attempts toreconcile the solution will be made including a meeting between staff and volunteer(s) involved,the Volunteer Program Manager, and, if appropriate, the COO. Dismissal of a volunteer maytake place if a volunteer is unreliable, irresponsible, disruptive, demonstrates inappropriatebehavior, or fails to adhere to the policies and procedures of the Library.Exit Interview and Exit Checklist ProcessWe encourage all volunteers to participate in an exit interview before leaving the Organization,regardless of your reason for leaving. You may also request a letter of reference or referral atthis time.The exit interview is your opportunity to communicate your views about the position, yourdepartment, management, the operations of the company, and any other relevant informationyou feel it is important for us to know.The appropriate persons will contact you to arrange an exit interview and an exit checklistmeeting.Sample Handbook Page 5 VolunteerMatch
  20. 20. Termination procedures are only guidelines and do not constitute a legal contract between theLibrary and the volunteer, as arrangement is by mutual consent.Confidentiality AgreementDue to the nature of the work you may be doing as a Library volunteer, you will be asked tosign a confidentiality agreement. We expect you to abide by the Library’s rules and regulations,and by signing this document you acknowledge that you agree to refrain from the unauthorizeduse or disclosure of any proprietary information.Policy Against HarassmentThe Library is committed to maintaining a work environment free of unlawful harassment. TheLibrary policy prohibits harassment based on sex (including sexual harassment, genderharassment and harassment due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions) andharassment based on race, religion, creed, color, national origin or ancestry, physical or mentaldisability, medical condition, marital status, age, sexual orientation or any other statusprotected by federal or state law or local ordinance or regulation. All such harassment isunlawful. The Library’s policy applies to all persons involved in the operation of the Library(both employees and volunteers) and prohibits unlawful harassment by any volunteer/employeeof the Library including supervisors and co-workers.Examples of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to: • Physical, unwelcome touching; • Verbal conduct such as epithets, derogatory jokes or comments, slurs, or unwanted sexual advances, invitations or comments; • Visual conduct such as derogatory and/or sexually oriented posters, photography, cartoons, drawings or gestures; • Threats and demands to submit to sexual requests as a condition of continued employment, or to avoid some other loss, and offers of employment benefits in return for sexual favors; • Inappropriate conduct or comments consistently targeted at only one gender, even if the content is not sexual; • Retaliation for having reported or threatened to report sexual harassment.This behavior is unacceptable in the workplace itself and in other work-related settings such asbusiness trips and business-related social events.SmokingIn response to state and local laws and building code, smoking is not permitted in our office.This includes private offices and other common areas.Sample Handbook Page 6 VolunteerMatch
  21. 21. PetsPets (dogs, cats, reptiles, birds, and any other type of live animal), although beloved, are notallowed in the workplace due to building regulations. This rule does not apply to serviceanimals.SolicitationSolicitation by non-staff members for any reason on company property is not allowed.Employees/volunteers may solicit or distribute literature for various groups, organizations forreasons including charitable ones.Substance AbuseThe possession, use or sale of illegal drugs is never acceptable in our business environment.Also, the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and alcohol can compromise yourjob performance and conduct.We recognize that substance abuse can be successfully treated. Seeking help or assistance isnot considered grounds for discipline, but refusal to get help in certaincircumstances may be. It is your responsibility to get professional help to improve yourperformance or conduct.Privacy in GeneralWhatever you put on a Library computer, including email you send and receive, and softwareyou install, could have been seen/read by someone other than yourself or your intendedreceiver. Emails and anything else generated or stored on the Library computers are companyproperty.Email and Voicemail UsageThe Library email system is intended for business use. Personal correspondence should not beabused. Like email, voicemail can be listened to by someone other than yourself or yourintended receiver. Anything you put or receive on the Library voicemail is also companyproperty.Sample Handbook Page 7 VolunteerMatch
  22. 22. USEFUL INFORMATIONWe’ve included some useful information about the Library and our location.Holiday ScheduleThe Library office will be closed for the following scheduled holidays for 2009:Jan 1, Thursday New Years DayJan 19, Monday Martin Luther King Jr. BirthdayFeb 16, Monday Washingtons BirthdayMay 25, Monday Memorial DayJuly 3, Friday Independence DaySept 7, Monday Labor DayNov 26-27, Thurs/Fri Thanksgiving weekendDec 24, Thursday Christmas EveDec 25, Friday Christmas DayContact InformationVolunteer Program ManagerPhoneEmailSample Handbook Page 8 VolunteerMatch

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