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STATE GOVERNMENT VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS

This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs run by state agencies, including information for parks, natural resources and social and health programs.

~ June 2005 ~ Topic

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Federal Government Page
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Policies/Procedures For Volunteer Programs

Although no one really enjoys writing policies and procedures, when you utilize volunteers, it is important to have them in order to guide the organization and the people responsible for volunteers.

The policy can address the duties of the person(s) responsible for recruitment, training and supervision of volunteers. It should address how to screen volunteers within the agency, and what kinds of benefits are offered to volunteers. The policy may even include information regarding the type of work that a volunteer may perform within the agency (in very general terms). The procedures will identify who is responsible for doing what tasks and how those tasks are to be accomplished.

It can be a tedious task to write up policies and procedures when that has not been done previously. Some resources to help you find examples of ones that have been done are AVA (Association for Volunteer Administration), your local DOVIA (or other Volunteer Manager’s organization – the AVA site has link to search for local networking organizations) or Cybervpm (an online list through yahoo groups). These are also excellent examples of areas to network with other volunteer managers.


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Background Checks

Doing background checks on potential volunteers is always a hot issue. It seems that most volunteer positions now require a background check. There are some misconceptions about background checks, however. A US federal (FBI) background check can only be done through a law enforcement agency and using fingerprints. A state background check will only show crimes committed in that state (and only those that were reported by the county where the crime was committed). It is important to make sure that you are getting a valid background check that provides you with accurate information. As a State Agency, all of our background checks are done through the Washington State Patrol. Our agency uses one specific unit to process all background clearances so we know that we are getting valid information.


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Terry Schroeder is a social worker at the Division of Children & Family Services in Bremerton, WA. She has worked for the department for 28 years, the last 20 working with volunteers in some capacity. She is also an avid volunteer, currently serving on three local non-profit boards and one advisory board. She can be contacted by calling: 360-475-3571 or emailing her at: thes300@dshs.wa.gov.

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