Volunteer Policy

Mission

Increase the awareness of education, health care and social needs within communities where resources are severely limited and out dated. The services identified will be delivered in partnership between the community and the Foundation’s volunteers and trustees and supported by the donations received from individuals, corporates & grants.

Volunteering defined:

The commitment of time and energy for the benefit of society and the target communities, the environment or individuals outside one’s immediate family. It is unpaid and undertaken freely and by choice

Key principles of Volunteering:

  1. Volunteering involves an active commitment. It is more than simply donating money or lending one’s name to a cause. Volunteers get involved.
  2. Whatever the volunteer’s motivation, the benefits of their voluntary activity is felt outside or in addition to their immediate family.
  3. There can be no element of compulsion or coercion in volunteering. Each individual must make the commitment of his/her own free choice.
  4. Volunteering is essentially unpaid. The Foundation may pay for pre-approved out-of-pocket expenses.

Why do we involve volunteers?

  • To increase our contact with the communities we serve.
  • To benefit from the skills and perspectives volunteers bring with them.
  • To offer volunteers new skills and experiences.
  • To ensure that our services meet the needs of the communities we serve.

Volunteers have a unique contribution to make when we consider the alternative of paid employees.

  • Credibility within the target community, with officials, 3rd sector or with one or more types of donors.
  • Often have the desire and ambition to support the Foundation’s causes
  • Provide a broader perspective, working closely with the management trustee team and can provide insight into new community requirements.
  • Some volunteers will have a network that can be leveraged for incremental support, either in delivery of services or funding
  • Volunteers will generally work on a specific project or programme, providing a level of focus towards the completion of the established objectives.
  • When planned properly, working with volunteers we expect a much more flexible arrangement, whereby, volunteers can be allocated based on skill, experience, desire, availability of time, etc.
  • More freely able to speak their mind
  • No bureaucracy, they can quite easily cut through the red tape
  • Leverage to test ideas before launching

Recruitment

The Foundation implements a fair, effective and open system in the recruitment and selection of volunteers and treats all information collected in this process confidentially.

All potential volunteers will go through a recruitment and selection process that is appropriate to the role offered. The Foundation uses registration forms, references and informal chats / interviews. Additional measures may be implemented depending on the nature of the volunteer role and police records checks are conducted where appropriate.

The process is conducted by appropriately briefed/trained staff and aims to allow both parties to give and receive sufficient information to assess whether the volunteer opportunities available match the potential volunteer’s skills, qualities and interests. If unsuccessful, individuals will be offered an opportunity to discuss the outcome and identify possible alternatives within or outside the Foundation.

The Foundation will

  • Aim to identify worthwhile and satisfying opportunities for volunteer
  • Produce a volunteer role description, outlining the purpose, tasks and main expectations of their role. This role is reviewed at least once a year with the volunteer’s manager for all voluntary opportunities.
  • Help any volunteer to try and overcome barriers that may make it difficult for them to volunteer at the Foundation.
  • Will operate its Equal Opportunities policy at all times in relation to both recruitment and support of volunteers.
  • Discussions will be held with all prospective volunteers to ensure that their skills and interests are best served by the volunteering opportunity.
  • Require references
  • Conduct surveys to adequately match expectations and requirements with volunteers
  • Not introduce volunteers to replace paid staff

Induction / Enablement

  • All volunteers will be entitled to a structured induction period, to familiarise them with the work of the Foundation in general and their own area of work in particular.
  • Training will be offered where it helps them fulfill their role effectively and as funds permit.
  • All volunteers will be asked to sign a Volunteer Agreement which requires them to abide by the rules and principles of the organisation. These will be clearly explained and copies of appropriate policies and procedures made available.
  • All volunteers will be briefed about the importance of maintaining confidentiality and asked to sign a confidentiality statement.

All volunteer placements are subject to a settling in period, the length of which depends on the nature and hours of the voluntary work. During this period volunteers are given additional support and a review meeting between the volunteer and his/her supervisor is held at the end of the settling in period to ensure that all parties are satisfied with the arrangement

Support and supervision:

Trustees will initially manage volunteers and implement the Foundation’s culture of helping people realise their potential in ways, which meet both personal motivations and the Foundation’s objectives.

As the Foundation’s projects will benefit from the skills, experience and enthusiasm of volunteers, we believe that volunteers should be able to gain personal benefits from the experience too. We are committed to managing volunteers in a way that ensures that the needs of both parties are met.

The table identifies the symbiotic relationship the Foundation will establish between the Active Volunteers and the Management Trustees.

Table 1 – Contribution & Benefit

Volunteer Foundation Trustees
Contribution Ideas

Contacts

Enthusiasm

Time

Skills

Experience

Feedback

Focus

Travel Insurance

Resources

Training

Welcome

Support

Expertise

 

Benefits Recognition

Friendship

Fun

Skills

Experience

Flexibility

Skills

Community involvement

Ideas

Diversity

Achieve objectives

Volunteer Involvement Model

The Foundation in the initial phase will have limited paid staff; the paid staff will exist in the community and provide specific community services, i.e. teachers, teachers’ aides, community coordinator. The balance of the Foundation will run on a voluntary basis. The Foundation recognises volunteers as a core part of our team, with a distinctive but complementary role alongside paid staff. There may be difficulties in distinguishing whether any individual is a volunteer as opposed to a community based staff, as volunteers may benefit personally from the Foundation’s activities, but are also motivated to ‘do something about it’. Often, volunteer roles are not strictly delineated and can be extremely flexible.

The management trustees will oversee the volunteer management.

The diagram depicts the relationship between Trustees, active volunteers, community based paid staff, i.e. teachers, teachers’ aides, etc. and the 3 areas of community focus and the 3 areas of target benefactors

 

Diagram 1 – Relationship Map

All volunteers will:

  • Have a named person as their main contact.
  • Be provided with regular supervision to feedback on progress, discuss future developments and air any problems.
  • Have a grievance procedure to deal with any unresolved problems.
  • Be responsible for their own travel insurance while they are on the premises or engaged in the Foundation’s work.
  • Be encouraged to claim travel expenses
  • Reimbursement of other out-of-pocket expenses will be considered where funding permit; when claims are submitted on a standard Expenses Claim Form and accompanied by proof of expenditure
  • Be made aware of health and safety procedures and requirements, and will, as far as practicable, provide a safe environment for volunteers.
  • Be encouraged to express their views on matters concerning the Foundation. Their opinion will be sought concerning any changes or developments, which may affect them.
  • Have their confidentiality protected and the Foundation will not release any information about them without their agreement.
  • Be able to request a reference from the Foundation, in support of their efforts in seeking other voluntary work or paid employment.
  • Be introduced to staff members, made to feel welcome, valued for what they offer and thanked for their contribution.

The Foundation aims to reflect the voluntary nature of our relationship with volunteers. Therefore, the volunteer’s designated manager deals with minor complaints or grievances about or by volunteers or their work through the usual support and supervision procedures, in the first instance. However, we recognise our duty to protect the wellbeing and interests of all our stakeholders and therefore operate a formal complaints procedure in the case of more serious complaints. In the case of particularly serious offences, as specified in the Code of Practice, this process may be bypassed and/or the subject of the complaint asked to leave. Where a criminal offence is suspected, the matter will be handed over to the police

Termination

The Foundation reserves the right to terminate your volunteer relationship. Any termination will be done in writing. The Foundation will where possible try and give volunteers at least two weeks notice of termination of the volunteering relationship but has the right to terminate the volunteer relationship without notice at any time without prejudice.

If you wish to withdraw from your voluntary role you are asked to give your assignment Management Committee Head as much notice as possible. The Foundation would appreciate at least two weeks’ notice of you leaving your role but recognises your right to withdraw at any time without prejudice.

You will be offered an exit interview upon leaving your voluntary role.

Monitoring and Review

It will be the responsibility of the Foundation to regularly review the operation of this Volunteer Policy and to make sure that it is always in accordance with the Equal Opportunity Policy and current volunteering best practice.

The Foundation strives to create a diverse and inclusive organisation within a diverse and inclusive community. Therefore, we are committed to ensuring equality of access to high quality volunteer opportunities and equality of treatment for our volunteers in all our policies and practices.

Children are vulnerable and need to be kept safe. All volunteers will need to demonstrate to the Foundation that they are fit for the role that they are undertaking. For some roles this would require undertaking the taking up of references and the receipt of a relevant DBS check.

In order to effectively monitor the work that volunteers do and how they are managed, a personal file is maintained for all volunteers, which includes: contact details and other relevant personal information; details of the application and selection process; agreements made; hours worked; records of support and supervision activities; training undertaken and any complaints or grievances made or received. Some of this information and other relevant information may also be recorded in digital records. All such information is treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998) and volunteers are entitled to inspect all such information pertaining to their own involvement.

Both volunteers and the Foundation agree that the intellectual property rights of original work produced by volunteers automatically transfers to the Foundation.

Risk Mitigation Process

If at any point during the recruitment, induction or management phases, a volunteer or management trustee identify any risk to the volunteer, the Foundation or the community served, the Foundation will follow its risk mitigation process. The diagram describes the risk mitigation process:

Diagram 2 – Risk Mitigation Process