Screen for Success!

Posted on July 16, 2012. Filed under: Good Ideas Stick, Tips for HandsOn Partners |

This post is from the HandsOn Network Blog.

Recruiting volunteers is the first step to a successful volunteer program within your organization. Training your volunteers to be an effective part of your organization is equally important.

Once organizational, programming, and volunteer goals have been identified, position descriptions and standards for each program will need to be developed, as well. Think of volunteer program as similar to job training. You do not want an employee who does not meet certain standards for the listed project description. If the volunteer is unable to meet basic standards, reassignment may be necessary.

How can you ensure a successful screening process? Follow our suggestions below to better develop your program needs.

  1. Application process: When conducting a volunteer interview, every volunteer administrator should identify the necessary education and skills to be successful for the project. The volunteer administrator should be able to identify the volunteer’s skills and nurture them to allow for successful participation in the project. The overall volunteer administration department should be able to identify the desired skills after conducting interviews with various volunteers during the screening process. It is important to identify the volunteer’s employment status, education, skills, past volunteer experience, and availability.
  2. Interview process: The interview process is just as important as the job description. The organizational representative can find out more about the volunteer’s qualifications by interviewing them for various focus areas. The interview allows the administrator to identify the volunteer’s strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Job descriptions: Job descriptions are very important because they identify the assignment expectations for potential volunteers. An ideal job description will include the job title, how it relates to the work of the organization, list of specific requirements and accountability, standards of performance, what education/ experience is necessary for the position, necessary attitudes and values, time commitments, location of the assignment, the supervisor, and a brief description of the supervisory relationship. The job description should also identify the benefits for volunteers.
  4. Needs analysis:The application and interview processes can help volunteer administrators identify volunteer training needs. Why should you conduct this type of analysis?
    1. Identify whether or not this volunteer has the qualifications to be competent at this particular position.
    2. Identify volunteer needs that may be needed as a result of various changes that have taken place.
    3. Identify the gap between volunteer performance and expectations.

To be successful at needs analysis you must:

a.       Define the goals or purpose of the needs analysis process.

b.      Determine the necessary methodology.

c.       Design the questions.

d.      Organize the data.

e.       Review the findings.

f.        Develop training recommendations.

g.       Repeat the process on the same skills and behaviors 6 to 12 months later.

h.       Be easy to use and practical to implement. 

i.         Create guidelines to develop needs analysis questions.

j.        Build the organization’s skill priorities into the questions.

k.      Organize questions into job categories and competencies.

l.         Build a pool of questions to use for possible surveys.

m.     Analyze current volunteer skills and compare them to organizational needs.

n.       Identify volunteer strengths and areas that need development.


The screening process is the first step in ensuring the overall health of your organization’s volunteer program. It is important to develop and define a uniform analysis across the organization. We hope that by following these tips you will see a more successful program!


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