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The recipe for building strong teams: R & R

In this Volaby Voice, we break down why roles and responsibilities are key to building strong volunteer teams and the best way to nail creating or refreshing roles and responsibilities for your organisation.
Chef mixing

Effective volunteer teams are informed, well trained and united by a shared passion. So how do you ensure passionate volunteers translate into strong volunteer teams? Through years of experience in managing volunteering teams, we have found one recurring theme, strong volunteer teams are built and managed on the back of well-defined roles and responsibilities. 

Benefits of defining roles and responsibilities:

There are many benefits to defining roles and responsibilities for your volunteers, these include the following:

  1. Clarity: Clearly defined roles and responsibilities ensure that all team members understand their individual contributions to the team’s success. When each person knows what they are responsible for, they are better able to focus on their tasks and make meaningful contributions. This clarity also helps to prevent confusion, duplication of effort, and conflicts that may arise when people are unsure of what is expected of them.
  2. Accountability: Each person is responsible for specific tasks and outcomes, which helps ensure that the team works together effectively. Accountability also creates a sense of ownership and commitment among team members, as each person knows that they play a critical role in the team’s success. This will also help to avoid conflicts that occur as a result of volunteer misunderstanding their responsibilities or being unsure of who they should escalate issues. 
  3. Efficiency: With clear roles and responsibilities, volunteer teams can work more efficiently. Each person can focus on their specific tasks, knowing that others on the team are taking care of their responsibilities. This reduces the likelihood of overlapping tasks while also encouraging volunteers to contribute their share of the workload making the team more efficient all around. 
  4. Engagement: Having clear roles and responsibilities can also help to keep team members engaged and motivated. When each person understands their unique contribution to the team, they can see how their efforts are making a difference. This sense of purpose and impact can be incredibly motivating, leading to higher levels of engagement and commitment.

How to nail your volunteer roles and responsibilities:

  1. Define your organisational goals: Before you can determine the roles and responsibilities of volunteers, you must first establish the organization’s goals. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  2. Outline what your volunteers need to do: Based on your goals, identify the key personnel that are required to achieve those goals. You can use these key personnel to break down the roles you will need as your organisation grows.  For example, if the goal is to organise a fundraising event, you may need volunteers to handle publicity, ticket sales, event setup, etc.
  3. Define the responsibilities of each role: Once you have identified the roles, define the specific responsibilities of each role. These responsibilities should be clear and concise, and each volunteer should understand what is expected of them. You may also wish to outline some organisation-wide responsibilities to ensure your volunteers understand their contribution to your overall mission.  Remember, responsibilities are not tasks, instead of describing the step-by-step of what volunteers need to do, focus on the outcomes of those tasks. 
  4. Assign volunteers to roles: Once the roles and responsibilities have been defined, assign volunteers to the appropriate roles based on their skills, interests, and availability. When recruiting new volunteers, be sure to use detailed responsibilities in your position description to ensure volunteers are well suited to the roles they are signing up for. 

⭐Volaby tip: The roles feature on Volaby is key to getting the right volunteers for the right job. You can add a new role for each of your volunteering positions and even assign a badge to the role to clearly identify what each role is responsible for (p.s. We have just added a bunch of new badge symbols – be sure to check them out!). 

  1. Provide training and support: To ensure that volunteers are successful in their roles, provide them with training and support as needed. This could include training sessions, mentoring, or access to resources and tools.

⭐ Volaby tip: With Volaby, training does not cease when volunteers finish their onboarding tasks. The resources feature allows organisations to build a bank of additional training resources that volunteers can access at any time. This could be additional training around cultural understanding, mental health resources, organisation news or external reading related to your mission. 

  1. Monitor and evaluate performance: Regularly monitor and evaluate the performance of volunteers to ensure that they are meeting their responsibilities and contributing to the organisation’s goals. Provide feedback and support to help volunteers improve their performance as needed. We also recommend checking in with your volunteers to ensure your roles and responsibilities are accurate and up to date.  

⭐Volaby tip: You can use roles to segment tasks to volunteers in specific roles, this feature is a great way to monitor and evaluate the performance of volunteers by assigning quiz tasks or a requirement to upload documents such as certificates. When rostering, volunteer leaders will be able to see if volunteers in each role have completed their required tasks or not. For example, if you need a registered nurse on shift, you will be able to see that the volunteer has been assigned the nurse role and has completed all of the tasks that confirm they are eligible to be on shift. 

Roles and responsibilities provide clarity, promote accountability, increase efficiency and foster engagement making them key to volunteering teams. Whether you are just starting out or have been managing volunteers for yours, dedicate some time to creating or improving your organisation’s roles and responsibilities.

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