Volunteer Task Description

Task Descriptions are an important aspect of volunteer management. Whether it is a staff member or member of the Board; everyone should know what they are expected to do in their role, and volunteers are no different.

A volunteer Task Description is critical in recruiting and retaining your volunteers – in order to attract volunteers to your organisation, and to provide a role that continues to enthuse motivate your volunteers to stay.

The description can be used to form the basis of your recruitment for the role and helps to convey more about the placement available to potential volunteers. A Task Descriptions can also help your staff and existing volunteers to understand how new volunteers fit within the organisation.

Key Components

Volunteer Task Descriptions need to reflect a balance between how the organisation wants to involve the volunteer, and creating an interesting and fulfilling opportunity for that volunteer.

What could the volunteer do?

When looking at how you would like to involve volunteers in your organisation, remember to consult with your staff and any existing volunteers. They will help to identify roles and tasks that a volunteer could help to do.

Try asking questions like:

  • What activities and projects have you wanted to do but have not had the time for?
  • What would you like to see done that no one has the skills for?
  • What could be done to enhance the service you are offering?
  • Are there specific tasks or projects that volunteers could take on that would help support the staff or service users?

Future strategies and plans for your organisation can also help to inform and shape the role your volunteers will fulfil. Taking a look at future plans will help with crafting a Volunteer Task Description.

When creating volunteer roles, try not to make assumptions about the task. Stuffing envelopes may be terribly dull for some individuals, but others may find it therapeutic and relaxing!

Getting the Task Description Right

Once you know the role that you want a volunteer to fulfil, its time to write the Task Description! When designing your task description it should remain fairly flexible and not too formal, but it should outline the tasks that are involved and, crucially, it should explain why doing that task will make a difference to the wider organisation and its service users—volunteers want to know how they are helping. For example, it might be easy to see why working on the marketing strategy may make a difference, but it might be less obvious (but just as impactful) why a role that involves organising publicity material in the display racks makes sense.

What to include:

Once a Task Description has been given a purpose and goal, it is then important to look at how and which the role will take shape, and what considerations and support can be given to the volunteer. Consider the following when making up your Task Description:

  • Volunteer Role title
  • Objectives of the role
  • A broad outline of tasks and activities to be undertaken
  • Targets or measurements of performance
  • The name of the person supervising the volunteer
  • How the role fits in with the work of the organisation
  • How the activities and tasks will benefit the organisation
  • How the role will benefit the volunteer
  • The kind of skills and attributes the volunteer may need
  • Any unique details about the role, or things that volunteers may need to know
  • If the volunteer needs their own transport or equipment
  • Dress code (if applicable)
  • Any restrictions on who can perform the role, in line with your volunteer policies
  • How many hours you would like the volunteer to give.

Remember to Review

Once you have your Task Description completed, discuss the role with other members of your organisation. Does the role fulfil the needs of your organisation? Is the role realistic to the expectations of volunteers? Are there areas for flexibility? If the volunteer doesn’t have the skills or experience in one part of the role, could their development be accommodated?

After recruiting a volunteer to the role, remember to review the volunteer Task Description with them at regular intervals, and ask for feedback on the role.

Further Support Available

Stockton Volunteers is dedicated to supporting volunteer involved organisations in Stockton-on-Tees. Further support is available through our website, where you can:

  • Download more Good Practice Guides
  • Find out more about the Stockton Volunteers Good Practice Kite Mark
  • Place volunteer advertisements
  • Get information about our latest Stockton Volunteers Partnership Meeting
  • Contact us for advice and support on your volunteering programmes
  • Get advice on policies and procedures for volunteering.

The Stockton Volunteers Good Practice Kite Mark is awarded to organisations who demonstrate commitment to supporting and nurturing their volunteers.

Recognised across County Durham and Stockton-on-Tees, the Stockton Volunteers Good Practice Kite Mark follows the ethos of Volunteer England and National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).

“Help one another. There’s no time like the present, and no present like the time.”

– James Durst