How do I write a description for a volunteer position?

 I’m creating new position descriptions for volunteers that my organization needs. These are new positions, and I know we need them, but I’m having trouble getting started. 

In addition to updating existing position descriptions, it is also advisable to consider creating new volunteer positions to address the organization’s needs. This is the time to speak to staff colleagues and volunteers, and make a wish list of what can be done if there was more time, more skills and more people! Why assess your organization’s need for new volunteer positions?

1. To identify what activities or skills would add value to the organization. Volunteers who bring a specific skill set to an organization, whether project-based (a graphic designer or videographer) or on-going (translator) can add value to the programs and services delivered by your organization with new expertise that may not be currently available.

2. To identify what the impact on the community could be as a result. Small and simple changes can make a significant difference. As an example, a prospective volunteer who is currently in school to become a professional hairdresser is seeking an opportunity to use her newly acquired skills. This individual contacted a shelter for homeless youth to ask if she could come in every week and give free haircuts to the organization’s clients. The organization created a volunteer position for her and invited this student to join them. The staff members at the organization were very grateful to have this volunteer, and suggested her services to other organizations that work with low-income populations. In this example, the clients benefited from having access to a service that might otherwise be out of reach; the organizations benefited because they were able to offer a new service to their clients and welcome a new volunteer; and the volunteer benefited from gaining valuable experience.

3. To demonstrate proactive planning. Organizations that engage in planning to add new volunteers and new kinds of volunteers to their human resources are better prepared to address trends in volunteerism, and offer accommodations and additional support.

Use the planning matrix below to facilitate new position planning:

New Position Title

Value Added to Organization

Features of the role

Skills required