Setting expectations is the main function of an employee handbook—it’s also important to do the same in your volunteer handbook.
“If you don’t have expectations that apply to everyone serving, then you haven’t communicated your standards,” said Steve Case, assistant vice president, senior corporate counsel for Brotherhood Mutual. “And inconsistency can lead to problems.” He notes that many religious organizations have procedural manuals for child care policies or an emergency plan, but it’s not the same as a volunteer handbook.
“Processes and systems generally are rules that apply only to certain groups of volunteers,” Case said. “But a volunteer handbook has guidelines that are applicable to all of your volunteers.”
A volunteer handbook can address the following:
It also may help to organize volunteers into a tiered system based on level of training and responsibility. Start by identifying and grouping certain classes of volunteers. All levels share the same volunteer handbook, but each level would have their own procedural manual specific to accomplishing the job. Those jobs may need a set of instructions for supervising children, how to report suspected abuse, offertory collection and counting, injury reporting, evacuation practices, and more.
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