Job descriptions for volunteers are recommended by many fundraising consultants and industry experts as an aid to volunteers, an organizational tool, and a preventative for volunteer burnout. (Volunteer recruitment checklist)
Volunteer job descriptions let people know exactly what is required of them if they sign up for a specific fundraising job, so volunteers can plan accordingly and only take jobs they are confident they can complete.
But even though volunteer job descriptions come highly recommended, few organizations actually take the time to draft them. The reason for this is two-fold: drafting each description takes time, and many fundraising leaders don’t know how to write them.
Not knowing how to write a fundraising volunteer job description shouldn’t deter you from drafting one – any attempt is better than not having one at all.
The following guide will aid in drafting the needed components in a description for the benefit of and as a resource for all involved.
- First, name the job; something simple and defining of the responsibility
- Next, add a concise and detailed description of the job, including responsibilities and required skills. Ask former job holders for details (or even ask them to write the description); when available, ask former job holders to proof the final version for accuracy
- List an estimate of the amount of time the job will take to complete; where applicable, break time requirements down by task. This helps volunteers decide if they have the time to fulfill an obligation at a glance
- Estimate the length of the job commitment (a day, a week, a month or more…); this also helps volunteers match jobs to their busy schedules
- State the deadline the job must be done by; some jobs will require early deadlines if they involve planning and organizing, and others will be far off in the future if for selling, event participation, follow-up, or donor recognition
- List who will help with the job
- Tell the volunteer where they can go for more help and advice if they should get stuck on a task (the name and number of a past volunteer is ideal if they are willing
- Include contact information for committee leaders in case an emergency arises or a volunteer is otherwise unable to complete their assigned task
Admittedly, drafting job descriptions for every volunteer position within a fundraising campaign is time consuming. Keep in mind, however, that the hardest work is in the initial drafting.
After that, descriptions can be revised and updated from year to year. One way to lessen the burden of the task is to ask each current job volunteer to draft the description at the completion of their service, then simply format them and proof for errors. This also ensures that the description is accurate and inclusive of all requirements.
Volunteer job descriptions allow participants to plan their time and skills accurately and avert difficulties later on. In time, the description will come to serve as a resource, a manual of sorts, for individual volunteer positions. Volunteer job descriptions quickly prove their worth.
Read more about recruiting, motivating and recognizing volunteers.