Restarting Your Volunteer Program With Vaccinated Volunteers | Track It Forward

Restarting Your Volunteer Program With Vaccinated Volunteers

Last updated by Kasey Murphy on 03/29/2021

As COVID-19 vaccines start to roll out, many of us that were hoping to get back to normal are now realizing how difficult this actually might be. 

For nonprofits and volunteer programs, COVID-19 has fully uprooted their structure and how volunteers are able to participate in activities. It started with all volunteer programs shutting down, some went to virtual volunteering, and others still carried on with in-person volunteering with social distancing and PPE. But now, does a whole new volunteer program need to be designed for those volunteers who are vaccinated and can work with less worry and fear of COVID-19 infection? 

To be honest, we don’t know the answer to this question, and we don’t think there is a clear-cut answer. Just like most things within the pandemic, each organization will have to find out what works best and keeps the most people safe within their volunteer program as COVID vaccines roll out. 

Volunteer Program Options For Your Volunteers Starting To Get COVID Vaccinated 

As more people and volunteers get vaccinated, it might be time for your program to transition out of the full virtual and at-home volunteering, and maybe even for your volunteer program to reopen. 

But, it probably won’t be a process where your volunteer program goes straight from no volunteers to all vaccinated volunteers back to normal, unless you want it to work like this! 

Here are some options for that transitional phase to working with vaccinated volunteers

Implementing a transitional phase from not having volunteers to having vaccinated volunteers can be done in different ways! We recommend considering all questions that might come your way, and do your research before fully implementing! 

1. Bring all volunteers back into the organization, asking them to wear PPE still - like everyone else! 

Questions to ask yourself before fully enforcing this: 

  • How will you tell vaccinated volunteers that they still need to wear a mask and follow all precautions? We have a guide for that here! 

  • Will you still be including virtual and at-home volunteer opportunities for those who aren’t comfortable, even if they are vaccinated? 

Resources for this topic option: 

2. Have vaccinated volunteers only work with other vaccinated volunteers in-person. (It is up to you if you would like them to still social distance and wear PPE at all times) 

Questions to ask yourself before fully enforcing this option: 

  • How will you designate vaccination only volunteers? Will, you only let vaccinated volunteers work, or will they be in a separate area from other in-person volunteers who are not vaccinated? 

  • How will you handle non-vaccinated volunteers feeling upset about others getting to volunteer just because they have been given the COVID-19 vaccination? 

Resources for this topic: 

3. Ask volunteers who are vaccinated to let a volunteer coordinator know, and after a set amount of time, bring the vaccinated volunteers into the organization, or have them choose if they would like to remain at-home or virtual. 

Questions to ask yourself before fully enforcing this option:

  • How will you determine who has a vaccination and the date? What proof do you need? 

  • What is the safest amount of time that you will set to wait for a volunteer who has been vaccinated to come out of isolation and start volunteering again? 

Resources for this topic: 

4. Wait for all employees volunteers to be vaccinated before opening up in-person volunteering again. 

Questions to ask yourself before fully enforcing this option: 

  • How long are you willing to wait for this? And what will you and your volunteers do in the meantime while everyone else is waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine? 

  • How will you resume back to normal after this? Will you make vaccines a requirement for all new volunteers? 

Resources for this topic: 

If you are interested in how other organizations are thinking about transitioning their volunteer program with vaccinated volunteers, check out this Facebook post. This post is in a group of 1,700 volunteer coordinators. You might be able to sense what the other volunteer programs are doing, too! 

Facts About The COVID-19 Vaccination to Consider For Your Volunteer Program 

There are some facts to be considered when it comes to the possibility of volunteers becoming vaccinated. Especially since as we are writing this article, Dr. Fauci has stated, “by the time we get to April, it will be open season, namely virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated.” 

So, with the possibility of vaccinated volunteers being able to return to your organization, can your volunteer program start to think of getting back to normal? Or are there still restrictions that need to be in place? And, how do you transition from a COVID-safe volunteer environment to one that does not have as many restrictions in place due to vaccinations? 

These are all questions that we don’t know the direct answer to, but we are going to provide you with all the facts, information, and resources that we have gathered that might help you decide how to approach your volunteer program with vaccinated volunteers! 

With all of these facts considered, start to think about what you might want to do if you find out that 15, 25, 45, 50, or even 75% of your volunteers are vaccinated! Does this change how you are currently operating? 

Whatever you decide, the next coming months are going to be a great time to start planning how to reopen your volunteer program and slowly get back to normal. It might start with understanding the vaccine and seeing how many volunteers have access to the vaccine! 

You can do this! You’ve made it through the hardest part of the pandemic - you’ve adapted. Now, it is time to start thinking about the possibilities that your volunteer program might be able to have when it comes to the vaccine, and having COVID-vaccinated volunteers! 

If you enjoyed this article, please bookmark this page or keep coming back to it, we are going to update it with each stage of the pandemic and vaccination efforts to help you and your volunteer program stay up to date. 

The following are resources we used to fact-check this article.