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4. Volunteers

4.1 Thinking about volunteering

Volunteering involves a degree of personal commitment and responsibility but it also brings with it a sense of achievement and fulfillment. Whatever your reasons for volunteering, the most important advice you can be given is to enjoy what you are doing.

Thinking about volunteering

Meddwl am wirfoddoli

4.2 Developing a volunteer strategy

If your organisation is thinking about involving, you should consider why you want volunteers involved in your organisation, who needs to be consulted, understanding why people want to volunteer, development opportunities, recruitment and selection and maintenance. Working through these stages will help to determine what to put into a volunteering strategy and how it will be implemented.

Developing a volunteer strategy

Datblygu strategaeth gwirfoddolwyr

4.3 Creating a volunteering policy

For those considering involving volunteers for the first time, see information sheet Developing a volunteer strategy (4.2). This information sheet is for organisations that have already identified a role for volunteers and are ready to develop their volunteer policies. If you involve volunteers in your organisation, it is helpful to have in place a volunteering policy. Having this policy can provide your organisation with a framework for establishing a volunteering programme.

Creating a volunteering policy

Creu polisi gwirfoddoli

4.4 Recruiting, selecting and inducting volunteers

Before involving volunteers, it is worth spending some time considering how they can work within your organisation. It is essential for the organisation to identify tasks that are appropriate for the volunteer to undertake, prior to the recruitment and selection process. As volunteers do not replace paid workers, they should be viewed as complementing the role, thus bringing added value to the organisation.

Recruiting, selecting and inducting volunteers

Recriwtio, dethol a sefydlu gwirfoddolwyr

4.5 Attracting Welsh speaking volunteers

In recent years voluntary organisations have increasingly come to recognise the importance of promoting equality and diversity. This affirms the Welsh Government’s vision outlined in the Voluntary Sector Scheme (2000), which recognises that everyone has a right to participate and be included n the life of their community through volunteering. In order to respect equality and ensure social inclusion, organisations are increasingly looking to operate bilingually.

Attracting Welsh speaking volunteers

Denu gwirfoddolwyr sy'n siarad Cymraeg

4.6 Equality and diversity in volunteering

Equality is about treating people fairly, ensuring that they have equal access to opportunities and resources, regardless of age, gender, race religion disability etc. Equality legislation requires organisations to act in ways that are transparent , consistent and fair regardless of individuals identity or background.

Equality and diversity in volunteering

Cydraddoldeb ac Amrywiaeth mewn gwirfoddoli

4.6.1 Equality and diversity monitoring for volunteers

Equality and diversity monitoring involves collecting sensitive data about volunteers’ backgrounds. It must be recorded, stored, used and updated in accordance with requirements set out in the Data Protection Act. Information may be collected, for example, about race, gender, religion, age, disability, sexuality or language.

Equality and diversity monitoring for volunteers

Monitro cydraddoldeb ac amrywiaeth i wirfoddolwyr    


4.7 How to ensure volunteer satisfaction

People volunteer for a number of reasons, however for a volunteering relationship to continue there must be a reciprocal benefit for both the organisation and the individual. The culture of the organisation is crucial to ensuring that volunteers feel valued, motivated and supported to continue in their role. This means that everyone needs to understand the role of volunteers and the contribution they make towards the organisation’s goals and how their role is additional and different to the role of staff.

How to ensure volunteer satisfaction

Sut i sicrhau bodlonrwydd gwirfoddolwyr

4.8 Keeping volunteers safe

Good recruitment and selection procedures should aim to discover enough about a potential volunteer to identify what raining is needed for them to do the job safely, ruling out volunteers who are simply unsuited for the particular volunteering you have in mind. In short – the volunteers themselves should be risk assessed!

Keeping volunteers safe

Cadw gwirfoddolwyr yn ddiogel

4.8.1 Risk assessment – volunteers based at home

Most health and safety legislation applied only to paid workers, but your organisation does have a duty of care towards volunteers. This means that you need to avoid carelessly causing harm or injury to volunteers. It dies not mean that volunteers will be working in a risk free environment. It also means giving volunteers relevant information that might affect their health and safety. For volunteers working from home, your organisation should. Check out their insurance cover and identify the main risks and possible actions.

Risk assessment - volunteers based at home

Asesiadau risg - gwirfoddolwyr sy’n gweithio o’u cartrefi

4.9 Safeguarding and good management practices

The welfare of children and vulnerable adults must be the paramount consideration of any voluntary organisation whose work brings it into contact with vulnerable people. Volunteers play a vital role in enhancing the lives of vulnerable people, but not every volunteer is suited to this kind of work, and very occasionally, may actually pose a threat. This means carrying out risk assessments for work that involves vulnerable people, adopting safe working practices to help minimise risk, having good recruitment and selection practices an sound systems of supervision.

Safeguarding and good management practices

Arferion Diogelu a Rheoli Da

4.10 Disclosure and barring Services

A criminal records check is a process of gathering information about an applicant’s criminal record and includes spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings held on the Police National Computer (PNC).

Disclosure Barring Services

Gwasanaeth Datgelu a Gwahardd

4.11 Volunteers and the law

Normally volunteers have very few legal rights, unlike paid staff who have a wealth of protection under employment legislation and can claim such things as things as unfair dismissal, disability or sex discrimination. Some organisations, however, unknowingly create contracts of employment in the way they engage with volunteers. This may make it possible for volunteers to pursue legal action when they feel they have a  grievance.

Volunteers and the law

Gwirfoddolwyr a'r gyfraith

4.12 Volunteers and welfare benefits

Volunteers must tell their employment adviser if they do any voluntary work. The must also inform them of any payments e.g. honoraria or payments in kind such as meal vouchers. It can be useful for volunteers to have a letter from their volunteer organisation outlining the expenses or any other payments they receive, the type of work they are doing and a method of contacting them when they are volunteering with the organisation.

Volunteers and welfare benefits

Gwirfoddolwyr a budd-daliadau lles

4.13 Volunteer expenses

The reimbursements of expenses is an equal opportunities issue. It is worth remembering that volunteers are making a gift of time. They should not be expected to give up money as well. Volunteers should be offered expenses, even if they choose not to accept them, and the procedures for claiming should be hassle-free.

Volunteer expenses

Treuliau gwirfoddolwyr

4.14 Investing in volunteers

‘Investing in volunteers’ is the UK quality standard for volunteer management. If your organisation involves volunteers, achieving the ‘Investing in Volunteers’ standard will enable it to make the best use of your valuable people resource. The standard comprises nine indicators of volunteer management best practice, supported by 46 practices, based on planning for volunteer involvement, recruiting volunteers, selecting and matching volunteers and supporting and retaining volunteers.

Investing in volunteers

Buddsoddi mewn gwirfoddolwyr

4.15 Supporting harder to place volunteers

Most organisations will at some point come across people who are simply not suitable. If, during the course of selection, you decide that a volunteer is not suited to the opportunity the have applied for, establish whether there is anything else they could do for the organisation. Whatever the basis for deciding that a volunteer is not suitable, the process should be fair and transparent and within the procedures detailed in your Equal Opportunities policy.

Supporting harder to place volunteers

Cefnogi gwirfoddolwyr anodd eu lleoli

4.16 Involving young people as volunteers

Involving young people under the age of 18 can seem a daunting prospect for some organisations but the benefits to organisations, the young people and the wider community can certainly make it worthwhile. There no legal restrictions around volunteers and age. It is recommended that you discuss other commitments young people may have, such as school and employment pressures when considering the amount of time they will volunteer. It also advisable to check any bylaws in your area as some local authorities require charity shops to apply for child employment permits.

Involving young people as volunteers

Cynnwys pobl ifanc fel gwirfoddolwyr

4.17 Understanding mental health and volunteering

This factsheet has been designed to give you information on how to support volunteers with mental health problems, covering how to offer support, recruitment, your welcome to people with mental health problems, day to day support, coping in a crisis, volunteers who work with people with mental health problems, equal opportunities and mental health, wellness action plan and further information.

Understanding mental health and volunteering

Deall iechyd meddwl a gwirfoddoli

4.18 Volunteer drivers

There are lots of issues to consider if your organisation works with volunteer drivers. It would be good practice for all volunteers who use their car in the course of their volunteering to inform their insurance company.

Volunteer drivers

Gyrwyr Gwirfoddol

4.19 The economic value of volunteers

Volunteers make a significant contribution, in unpaid hours, to the economy of Wales. It  estimated that every year volunteers contribute 147 million hours, which is worth £1.6 billion.  This is equivalent to 3.5% of Wales GDP. Volunteering also has significant value, which is less easily defined in monetary terms, in terms of social cohesion, inclusion, economic regeneration and the developments of social capital.

The economic value of volunteers

Gwerth economaidd cyfraniad gwirfoddolwyr

4.20 Employer supported volunteering

There is a growing interest in community investment programmes and more encouragement from Government for companies and public sector organisations to support their local communities. There are many types of employer-supported volunteering (ESV) programmes to assist employees to volunteer, both in their own time and in work time.

Employer supported volunteering

Gwirfoddoli a chymorth cyflogwr

4.21 What do volunteer centres do in Wales?

There are Volunteer Centres in every county in Wales which provide support at a local level for volunteering, for individual volunteers and for volunteer-involving organisations.

What do Volunteer Centres do in Wales?

Beth mae Canolfannau Gwirfoddoli yn ei wneud yng

4.22 Managing volunteer exits

It is important that all organisations take responsibility for their volunteer recruitment procedures and have a system in place for assessing mutual suitability. This is an ongoing process. It means taking care with the application and interview stages, including perhaps DBS/references and induction and also continually reviewing through regular supervision, during the whole period of volunteering.

Managing volunteer exits

Rheoli ymadawiadau gwirfoddolwyr

4.23 Volunteers and insurance

It is vital to ensure adequate insurance cover for staff and volunteers, and this is something that should be reviewed on a regular basis. It is an organisation’s responsibility to provide cover, not only for loss, damage or injury which volunteers might suffer, but also for any loss, damage or injury to others that might result from volunteers’ activity. Some policies are required by law; others are optional. It is for the organisation to decide what is appropriate.

Volunteers and insurance

Gwirfoddolwyr ac yswiriant

4.24 Involving volunteers from overseas

Many organisations in Wales actively seek to engage both international volunteers living in Wales and those based overseas. Exactly the same principles of good practice apply to volunteers from overseas as those which apply to local volunteers.

Involving volunteers from overseas

Cynnwys gwirfoddolwyr o dramor

4.25 The language of volunteering - terms explained

This is a useful guide for you to understand the following terms when discussing volunteering including Community service, community participation, community work placement, internship, social action, timebanking, third sector, trustee, unpaid office holder, unpaid work, voluntary experience, voluntary organisation, voluntary worker, volunteer, volunteering when on welfare benefits, Volunteer Involving Organisation (VIO), volunteering opportunity, volunteer placement and work experience.

The language of volunteering - terms explained

Iaith gwirfoddoli - termau cyffredin    

4.26 Managing concerns relating to volunteers

Whilst the involvement of volunteers is usually a positive experience for all concerned, sometimes things go wrong within any voluntary programme. The aim is usually to handle difficult situations on an informal basis if possible, by talking to those concerned, clarifying issues and reaching consensus. However, sometimes this is not sufficient. Organisations are advised to have in place 'problem solving procedures' which are specific to volunteers.

Managing concerns relating to volunteers    

Rheoli pryderon yn ymwneud â gwirfoddolwyr    

4.27 Promoting Welsh language through volunteering

In Wales, the Welsh Language has official status which means:

  • It should be treated no less favourably than the English Language;
  • Persons in Wales should be able to live their lives through the medium of the Welsh Language if they choose to do so

Promoting Welsh language through volunteering

Hyrwyddo’r Gymraeg drwy Wirfoddoli

4.28 Welcoming volunteers who are asylum seekers or refugees

Asylum seekers and refugees can be excellent volunteers. They can be highly motivated to learn new skills, or develop existing skills which assist them in future job seeking. Volunteering is not only beneficial for the individual, involving volunteers who are asylum seekers and refugees can be extremely positive for your organisation.

Welcoming volunteers who are asylum seekers or refugees

Croesawu gwirfoddolwyr sy’n geiswyr lloches neu’n

4.29 Carers and volunteering

This information sheet has been designed to give you information on how to support volunteers who are unpaid carers.

Carers and volunteering

Gofalwyr a gwirfoddoli