A position description is your storefront, a welcome, attractive window for aspiring volunteers.
It should be sufficiently informative and engaging to cause anyone looking at it to pause and explore it, especially if the role described relates to a volunteer’s Areas of Interest.
As you consider and draft content, consider what an ad for a job looks like (with ‘trigger words’, and what a member of the public needs to know in order to be confident in clicking Apply Now!). This CHECKLIST does not cover every detail, but it is designed to cue you to best, preferred practices.
- To create a position click on the Add an Entry, on the Volunteer Positions page on our website (after you log in to your member account).
- You will be taken to a ‘Volunteer Opportunity Publishing Request’ (blank) form.
- Do not concern yourself with ‘Featured Position’ (at this time).
- ‘YOUR ORGANIZATION’ is among the organizations under ‘Organization Name’, as a dropdown (please insert it).
- ALL areas/green boxes with a RED asterisk are mandatory (for the position to be ‘published’, these must be filled in).
- Take some time and consider the goals, description, benefits, and requirements of the ‘position’. A good approach is to draft these areas as you would a job advertisement, or think of this as presenting the organization’s resume to a client (funder). Positive ‘trigger words’ are capable of attracting enthusiastic volunteering candidates.
- For CONTACT information, consider including a name of a contact – people relate to people, not simply to a telephone number and/or email address.
- POSITION TITLE must be descriptive and pretty specific, since that is the first thing seen in a ‘search’, and it goes hand-in-hand with an organization’s name, as part of a bookmark..
- Under GOAL OF POSITION, start with a short paragraph that describes your organization and its mission (this sets the stage/scene, but many organizations omit this, leaving the volunteer to wonder to what or to whom he or she is being invited to apply).
- Under BENEFITS, consider 3 beneficiaries: the volunteer, your organization, AND the people who will benefit from your mission, especially the volunteer’s part toward achieving it. It’s a challenge, but try to place yourself in the volunteer’s shoes.
Overall, TRY to keep to ‘one line’ points (type ● to add a bullet when making a list).
- Under REQUIREMENTS , start with the most important, then further down list any needs/wants that can read like this, “Child care experience welcome”; “Child care experience not needed, but preferred”; “Prior experience in child care would be an asset”. If training will be provided, you can mention that here in order to soften the requirements. Avoid undue repetition of information from the ‘Position Description’ (keeping things as focused and concise under each heading as possible).
- MINIMUM DURATION – Consider your needs carefully. The LONGER the commitment, the less inclined volunteers may be to explore the ‘position’. You don’t need a ‘revolving door’, but you also don’t need a ‘position’ that has no ‘hits’.
- LOCATION OF THE VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITY – the physical location (municipalities, and it could be ‘to be determined’, or ‘various’; if a specific address, ID it).
- ORIENTATION & TRAINING – Important to include, if mandatory, and for some programs (events), dates/times/places are helpful.
- POSITION SPECIFIC WORK SCHEDULE – Volunteers view this information as very important, so be prepared to provide specifics
- OPPORTUNITY SUITABLE FOR … – Please do not forget to consider ‘Newcomers’, since many will bring both skills and volunteering experience to your roles.
- SOCIAL MEDIA – A further convenient means of communication. At a MINIMUM, cross-reference your WEBSITE, so that its information is current and matches the content of the volunteer position that you are drafting. In fact, your website may provide documentation and/or ‘links’ that can be inserted under APPLY OPTIONS.
- Position Status / Published – Ensure that the boxes read, ‘Active’/’Not Published’, then click on ‘Add’ (or ‘Update’).
- VIEW the volunteer position after you have addressed all the boxes (fields), with a view towards accuracy, consistency, and balance (ie. no unnecessary repetition). Once again, put yourself into the shoes of a member of the public who knows nothing about the opportunity that you are advertising. Is the curious, potential volunteer sufficiently INFORMED? ATTRACTED? CONFIDENT?
- ‘Save’ (and/or ‘Print’) your DRAFT, for convenient reference, as Volunteer MBC may make revisions in direct collaboration with you (although all ‘positions’ are archived when rendered ‘Inactive’/’Not Published’, an alternate means of retention can be useful for re-use (eg. an event or recurring program) with appropriate updates, so that you save yourself from ‘starting from scratch’).
SPECIAL NOTE: For EVENTS, plan to ‘post’ at least SIX (6) WEEKS to TWO (2) MONTHS AHEAD OF THE EVENT DATE. (The public needs to see the opportunity well in advance, and you need time to check/process applications.)
ALSO, you can ‘check’ the status of Volunteer MBC volunteer ‘clients’ who may have applied, by clicking the icon under ‘Applicants’ (on the dashboard, part of a ‘position’ listing within your ‘member’ account). IF YOU HAVE ‘PUBLISHED’ postings, PLEASE DO THIS REGULARLY.
There are many excellent examples of volunteer positions currently within the Online Volunteer Referral System. These are a convenient resource for drafting purposes. ALL SUBMISSIONS are vetted by Volunteer MBC for compliance with the Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement, plus Project Support attempts to ensure that any ‘volunteer position’ is the BEST THAT IT CAN BE!