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VT readers ask questions about volunteer management and administration. Ask Connie, an experienced volunteer manager, consultant and trainer, provides the answers for all to see.
Send questions to AskConnieP@cs.com

~2011 ~


Dear Readers:

I am often asked about creating a “code of ethics” for volunteers.  One of my favorite examples was published some time ago by OxFam International www.oxfam.org.  I’m happy to share it with everyone this month!

Focus On Volunteer Management: The Rights and Responsibilities of Volunteers

Has your organization really thought through what rights and responsibilities your volunteers have?  So often we create volunteer programs almost as an afterthought.  But volunteering is serious business.  And examining what responsibilities they – staff and even clients – have is an essential part of the many-sided relationship.

The following is an example of how one organization, Community Aid Abroad of OxFam Australia, has addressed the issue of volunteer rights and responsibilities:

Rights and Responsibilities

As a volunteer with Community Aid Abroad you have certain rights that you can expect the organization to fulfill to make your time with us valuable and satisfying. As a worker at Community Aid Abroad, you also have a number of responsibilities that you are required to fulfill.

Volunteer Rights – To carry out their work effectively, volunteers need:

  1. a clear explanation of the duties and responsibilities they have agreed to take on;
  2. a person to whom they are responsible and regular contact with that person or group;
  3. the facilities, equipment and back-up services to carry out the work, including safe working conditions;
  4. out-of-pocket expenses (volunteers working a full day at Community Aid Abroad — at least 11am to 3pm – are entitled to a standard payment to cover travel and lunch expenses; claiming this expense is optional.)
  5. supervision and support to enable them to carry out their duties; and
  6. information about Community Aid Abroad's work and where their volunteer job fits in.

Participation -- Community Aid Abroad values volunteers' points of view and needs their ideas and experience to help make good decisions.  Volunteers will be consulted by paid staff on matters affecting them and the work they do.

Personal development -- Volunteers, like paid staff, should be encouraged to develop their skills, abilities and experience within Community Aid Abroad. For volunteers this may involve moving into another voluntary post; others will stay in one job where they can build on their experience.

Volunteer's Responsibilities

  • To learn about Community Aid Abroad's work and how their job fits in.  This may involve attending talks and meetings and looking at information available.
  • To work according to procedures and carry out the duties agreed with the responsible member of the paid staff;

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Do you have a question? Now you too can ask an expert!

Connie Pirtle, of Strategic NonProfit-Resources, has 15 years' experience in working with volunteers. She has consulted and/or trained for such organizations as the Washington National Cathedral, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music America, and the Association for Volunteer Administration.

Send your questions to Connie at AskConnieP@cs.com.
Connie Pirtle
Strategic Nonprofit Resources
314 E. Marie Dr. * Stillwater, OK 74075 * VOICE: 405.372.8142 or 202-306-1492

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