No matter what we call them – job descriptions, role designs, position descriptions – this crucial document provides the foundation for appropriate recruitment, monitoring, evaluation and screening. In regards to volunteers - consider them as a contractual agreement and have the volunteer read and sign the job description. This ensures that they understand their job and shows them your organization’s commitment to them.
Every role that is unique deserves its own description. Although this may seem time consuming if your organization does not have currently provided role descriptions, the pay back is tenfold in enhancing your daily functions. Engage existing volunteers in creating the descriptions of their roles by providing templates. Role descriptions increase efficiencies by focusing volunteer efforts, reduce gaps and overlaps in who’s doing what, provide firm guidance and clarify purpose. They play crucial roles in the planning, recruitment, risk assessment, selection, orientation, supervision and evaluation of volunteers, programs and the organization as a whole. Consider if the description meets the needs of both the volunteer and the organization, is clear in expectations and outcome, and is realistic in time commitment, skill and support.
The elements of a role description can be quite basic. Included should be title, description, purpose, responsibilities, outcomes, qualifications, time commitment, training and support, accountability, benefits and other.
Additions that enhance role description are adding your organization logo, a signature line on the last page for the individual to acknowledge, a date line, and an approval/review date for the description itself.
In the case of paid staff, the above elements will still apply.