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Write a Volunteer Job Description

Write a Volunteer Job Description

Find out what to include in a job description

Source:  TechSoup.org

May 3, 2000

You might ask yourself, does a volunteer really need a job description? Isn't that too formal, too much paperwork? Because you won't be able to work closely with the volunteer (they may not even be onsite), it's even more important to have a clear job description than it is with full-time employees. Without an accurate project outline in the beginning, the chances for confusion and disappointment multiply rapidly. The process of writing the description will also help you clarify your own goals and objectives, so that you can be sure you aren't giving the volunteer an impossible task.

Your job description should include:

  • The mission of your organization. Volunteers will come to you because they hope to make an impact by helping you. They will want to know what you stand for.
  • A description of the project. See Defining the Volunteer Project for a guide to deciding on the tasks you want your volunteer to accomplish. A clearly defined project helps attract volunteers. Many will be reluctant to take on a project that is not well-defined, afraid that the project will expand to consume their lives, or go on and on for months.
  • The skills needed to do the project. Does the volunteer need to know a particular accounting or database application? Do you need someone who knows LANs or web development? Do some research if necessary so you can be specific. CompuMentor's Mentor Questionaire has a good list of the kinds of skills volunteers might need.
  • Time commitment. Estimate the number of hours the project will take. How many weeks will the volunteer have to complete it? Does the project need to be finished by a certain date?
  • Work schedule and arrangements. Can the work be done only between 9 and 5? Will the volunteer need to be onsite, or can the work be done from home? Will the volunteer need access to your computers in order to complete the task?
  • Contact information. Who is the point-person and what is the best way for a potential volunteer to get in touch with them? What are the hours of the point-person? Does the staff person have any flexibility or ability to be there to meet with the volunteer on nights or weekends?

Copyright © 2000 CompuMentor. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.