Requirements for volunteer screenings, Staff training, and Honoring volunteers | Track It Forward

Requirements for volunteer screenings, Staff training, and Honoring volunteers

Written by Melissa Davis

Recap for June 21st - July 1st

Some of the most active discussions in our volunteer coordinator resource community this week included requirements for volunteer screenings, staff training, and honoring volunteers who pass. Thanks to everyone who participated and shared ideas! 

Required Volunteer Screenings 

Depending on the organization and volunteer role, there may be additional requirements beyond the general volunteer application. In some cases, volunteers may be required to complete a background check, drug screening, TB test, and driving record. 

The requirements for screening will likely vary based on your organization and location. If certain requirements are part of the screening process for employees, you may need to include them for volunteers as well. 

Hello , I am a volunteer coordinator for a Hospice in PA. Does anyone else here who works in the same industry know if your place requires volunteers to have a drug screeening? I thought Medicare required it but it seems as if it’s in an area of interpretation and I need more info . Any help is welcomed , thanks !

Comments from Others 

  • “I’m in Maine and we do not.”

  • “I worked as a VC for hospice in SC and we did drug screening for every volunteer”

  • “Yes. Most definitely. Plus Background check, TB test and driving record.”

  • “If it is required for your employees, it is required for your volunteers.”

Check out all of the comments here!

Staff Training 

In many cases, the volunteer coordinator isn’t always working directly with volunteers after they join the organization. Volunteers may be assigned to different departments where another staff member is their primary point of contact. As the volunteer coordinator, this can be challenging since staff members may not have much experience working alongside volunteers. 

Our coordinators had some great ideas for leading discussions with other staff members to prepare them for working with volunteers. A positive experience with staff is crucial for volunteer retention so it’s important to set expectations with staff members for volunteer engagement. 

Hi! Curious if anyone has lead a training for your staff on how to work with volunteers. I’ve been asked to speak with our seasonal staff who will be working along side volunteers this summer and looking for any activities or successful conversations you may have had with staff on how to work well with volunteers.

Comments from Others 

  • “I think it would be important to explain to staff some of the benefits of having volunteers that they may not think of otherwise e.g. they often donate funds, many are well connected and can spread good words about the organization, that they are skilled and have tons of knowledge etc. Also remind them to express sincere thanks. Knowing what volunteers bring will help make sure they are treated well!”

  • “I send an information pack to all new Vol supervisors, have monthly group meetings and advice on e learning to complete. In addition I post them in the news and in the monthly group training to discuss issues, updates and mini training if there are any changes such as volunteer recruitment, management of active volunteers etc.”

  • “I think it's helpful to share whose role is what - what they do, what I do, what the expectations are, what they can ask (or not ask) a volunteer to do. Connection with staff is a huge part of retention, so emphasizing that can be helpful.”

  • “New staff attend a staff-volunteer engagement session. We discuss what motivates volunteers, what are staff responsibilities, and how volunteers contribute to mission.As an ice breaker, I like to ask if they ever volunteered and what that experience was like.”

Add your own thoughts here!

Honoring Volunteers

Unfortunately, some organizations may need to consider how they recognize a volunteer who passes away. Our coordinators shared some of their suggestions for how they’ve honored volunteers before. 

Recently one of our volunteers passed away unexpectedly. What do you do to honor/recognize volunteers that have passed away?

Suggestions from Others

  • “Once I had a board member pass and we named a scholarship after him. Maybe a special award (even if just for that year) in their honor?”

  • “We have a standard flower arrangement that we send to the funeral. We also invite other volunteers to attend the funeral with me to show support to the family. I work with older volunteers and we let them know at training what we do if someone passes away. I also put condolences in the monthly newsletter and if there is an obituary I put that on our Facebook page.”

  • “We named an award in their honor after our longest serving volunteer passed away.”

  • “We named one of our meeting rooms after a volunteer who passed away last year. We also highlighted his story in our annual report and on social media (he was a long-time volunteer and past Board Member).”

Join the conversation here!