The Importance of Volunteer Role Descriptions

Imagine a world in which you were hired to do this fantastic job called “4-H Agent” and you were told-  we want you to get kids and volunteers doing 4-H stuff.  Now go out an conquer!

It’s exciting and daunting and troubling all at the same time.  What are the metrics of success?  Who do you involve?  What resources do you have access too?  What happens if you aren’t doing a good job?

This is often what we do when onboarding new volunteers. We are so excited that 1) they want to work with us and 2) they have taken the time to complete the screening process, that we just want to get them to work as soon as possible and will be happy with what we get.

…And we might be.

…But they might not be.

Volunteer role descriptions are critical such that they clearly know expectations (both of them, and what is reasonable (or not) to expect of you), resources, time commitment, etc.

Your volunteers should be re-acquainted with their role annually, and sign off, with a reminder that their volunteer term of service is for a year, with the option to renew if both the agent and the volunteer agree.

As follows are some ready-made Volunteer Role Descriptions you may use for your county program. Some will fit what you are looking for, some will note.  You are free to mix and match and craft what fits your volunteer needs.

Florida 4-H Volunteer Role Descriptions :  Includes community club leader, community club organizational leader, club activity leader, club parent, 4-H expansion and review committee member, county 4-H judge, county 4-H project leader, etc.)  My comments on these:  These are a lot, and in my opinion more than you will need or should try to utilize.  Also, in some sections where it refers to what volunteers receive it specifies “agent support”.  I would encourage you to be much more specific.  To some agent support means you come to every club meeting, or make thousands of copies a month for the group.  Be specific about what you can reasonably do and under-promise and over-deliver.

Volunteer Position Description Worksheet :  This fill-in template is a nice start if you are crafting your own volunteer role descriptions.

Wondering what sections to include in your Volunteer Role Descriptions?  Check out:

How To Write a Volunteer Job Description They Will Love

Writing Useful Job Descriptions

…And while you are at it.  You might strongly consider sharing your own job description with volunteers.  It helps to clarify roles and prevent confusion and misunderstandings later.

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