Sample volunteer organisation policies
Knowing what volunteer policies and procedures you want is one thing. Writing them is something altogether different.
While developing a general Volunteer Policy (or a collection of policies) may seem daunting, the good news is that writing policies isn’t really that tricky – and there are a heap of sample documents and templates available to guide you.
You will need to invest some time and energy into writing and implementing policies but you don’t need to be a legal professional, management guru or professional writer to have clear, relevant and inspiring policies that are understood and embraced by everyone in your organisation.
Select a topic to find out more:
It might seem easier to take another organisation’s policies and just put your logo on them, but try to avoid this temptation. Each organisation’s policies and procedures are unique to the values, ideas and collection of people within that community – and every organisation is different.
If you want your policies to be an integral part of your organisation, and not just something that gather dust on your office shelf, you will need to put a little time into how you express your policies to reflect the culture and values of your organisation. And you’ll need to invest time to make sure that everyone understands and appreciates their importance to the way your organisation works.
The language you use in your policies should be simple and clear. Just say it like it is – there’s no need for an official tone. Nor do your policies need to be complex, long-winded documents. Usually you can cover a policy topic in a few sentences and explain the accompanying procedures with bullet points or a list of instructions. Yes. The writing bit is that simple.
The following samples provide a starting-point for your own policy development – especially for examples of policy structure and layout. There’s also more information about the policy development cycle and tips for structuring your policies on our Developing Policies page.
Often volunteer organisations have one over-arching Volunteer Policy that covers key topic areas and references other organisation-specific policies where necessary. Here are some examples:
Volunteering Australia – Start Smart Toolkit (PDF, 1.65MB)
While not an actual sample policy, the Developing a General Volunteering Policy section of the Start Smart Toolkit steps you through the process of writing a general policy for volunteers and includes a sample structure.
Maribyrnong City Council – Volunteer Policy and Procedure (PDF, 144KB)
A comprehensive volunteer policy manual including guiding principles, best practice standards and detailed procedures.
Our Community – Volunteer Policy (DOC, 83KB)
Covers general principles, responsibilities and (very high-level) procedures for areas including recruitment, supervision, induction, dispute resolution and reimbursement.
Volunteering England – Example Volunteer Policy (DOC, 107KB)
This example from East Sussex Advocacy Scheme shows how a smaller organisation can develop a useful and relevant volunteer policy in simple, plain language.
These policies deal with more specific areas such as health and safety, reimbursement or dispute resolution:
Our Community – Policymaking Policy (DOC, 109KB)
Having a policy on policymaking might be overkill for your organisation, but this example shows the structure and layout of a typical policy document.
Our Community – Policy Bank
A collection of policy samples for community organisations. Many of these could be adapted for volunteer organisations and some volunteer policies are included as examples.
Victorian Council of Social Service – Policy and Procedure Manual
This 136 page guide can be purchased from VCOSS for $30. It identifies broad policy areas, recommends key policies for community organisations and includes sample policies with tips on how to adapt and implement them.