Managing volunteers

Volunteers are critical to the successful running of any sport and recreation organisation and the implementation of contemporary and effective volunteer management practices will ensure a well organised, trained and happy volunteer workforce.

A quick reference guide to managing your volunteers better


Appoint a volunteer coordinator to your organisation; someone who is responsible for recruiting managing and recognising your volunteers. Someone who is a point of contact for volunteers.


  • Develop a volunteer management plan. This plan should address:
    • Number of volunteers required and the roles they are required for
    • Identification of skills already in the organisation (for example conduct a skills audit of existing members and volunteers)
    • Recruitment strategies
    • Roles and responsibilities of volunteers
    • Roles and responsibilities of the organisation
    • Training that can be offered to volunteers
    • Ongoing day-to-day support that can be provided
    • Recognition strategies.

Job descriptions

  • Develop job descriptions outlining volunteers' duties.
  • Job descriptions enable potential volunteers to understand what is expected of them before taking on the position.


  • Provide new volunteers with an orientation, including:
    • A welcome to the organisation 
    • Details of their position
    • Information on the day-to-day operations of the organisation
    • Support that will be provided to them
    • Introductions to key people in the organisation.


  • Identify the training requirements of your volunteers
  • Keep up to date with the training that is available for various positions in the organisation
  • Include an allocation for volunteer training in the organisation?s budget


  • Provide volunteers with a central point of contact for example volunteer coordinator
  • Ensure open channels of communication are available to volunteers. Provide them with the opportunity to ask questions, discuss problems, raise issues, put forward complaints
  • Make sure that volunteers are not out of pocket; where possible cover their expenses
  • Ensure that the roles and responsibilities of the volunteers and the organisation are clearly defined and communicated
  • Keep volunteers regularly informed about what is happening in the organisation
  • Ensure that recognition of volunteers is ongoing.
Page reviewed 05 July 2019