Every month, our Community of Practice (a virtual peer support and advice group) meet to focus on topics based around values and volunteer engagement. Here, we give their top tips based on the topic of incorporating values in Volunteer Handbooks.
Focus on your values - Formal policies and codes of conduct are core to the Volunteer Handbook but centring them around values will help reinforce why they are important and promote the benefits of following them. For example, ‘As an organisation, we value fairness and equality, therefore it is crucial that everybody reads and follows our Equality and Diversity Policy’.
Spotlight your volunteers - Paying tribute to volunteers shows the impact that they have on your organisation and can help them better understand how their efforts make a positive difference. Testimonies from your existing volunteers about why they are involved can also reinforce ‘intrinsic’ values (values such as community and caring for others) and help volunteers feel part of something bigger. This is particularly important for climate organisations where volunteers can be prone to feeling isolated and unable to make an impact on their own.
A celebration of volunteering - Rather than simply functioning as an official document, a Volunteer Handbook can be celebratory. It can recognise and commemorate volunteering and the impact that volunteers have. The opening in Reach's rejoices in the role and scale of volunteering in wider society, which is pivotal to inspiring and endorsing volunteering.
Be mindful of how you communicate - Avoid using language that inadvertently promotes ‘extrinsic’ values (‘selfish’ values such as power, wealth and status). For example, presenting volunteering as an opportunity to further a career or broaden professional contacts. Adopt an honest voice, stay true to your values as an organisation, and focus on the impact of your work and the value of your volunteers.
Find out more and sign up to our Community of Practice.