Challenges and opportunities for administration

For many people, administration is a bog, a burden, the last thing they like to do. This is generally due to its compulsory nature and its spotty, precision-requiring nature. At the same time, we would like to point out that numbers have power. It is worth using the numbers, because without them, it is difficult to argue, to see and to justify the programme on all fronts. Without numbers we see vaguely even as a coordinator.


Advantages of administration Disadvantages of administration
  1. Makes volunteering work tangible (precisely by the number of hours and their forint value);
  2. provides up-to-date data on the effectiveness of volunteering, input for argumentation;
  3. provide facts for the organisation’s annual report;
  4. builds history, extends the organisation’s history, and builds its volunteer programme;
  5. a statistical base that can be useful in planning;
  6. a creative resource – for example, reviewing a skill chart can help you think about what more volunteers could do to help.
  7. makes work smooth and efficient by providing easy traceability even in the case of replacement.
  1. It is time consuming and humps on an already overworked employee (volunteer help may also be requested!);
  2. it requires a lot of preparation, precise planning (compiling a checklist makes it easy to follow e.g., the recruitment process, and it is easier to redefine the templates than to make them completely new, i.e., it is a big investment at the beginning).

It is a fact that the administrative burden takes up a lot of time, so it is always worth being aware of the new techniques and systems available. For example, applications these days are not necessarily collected in a signed word document, but collected online (e.g. Google Forms), thus saving time in processing and replying (you can also set up an automated response).

What do we administer?

It is important for the records that all institutions have the following databases.

  • Volunteer database: detailed list of all volunteers in the institution. The database can contain all the information provided by the volunteers in the application form, but it can be further expanded on other aspects (e.g. active / inactive, tried tasks, etc.). Think also that Act LXXXVIII of 2005 on Volunteering in the Public Interest sets out clear rules on the volunteering data to be recorded.
  • Schedule of volunteers: the higher the number of volunteers in the institution and the tasks that can be performed, the more complex the schedule of volunteers may become. It requires additional attention that the schedule can change at any time, so it requires quick and efficient resolution of changes. An important aspect of the schedule is to keep track of any subsequent changes, or even the volunteers themselves can follow it.

Tip: Applying for volunteering at the Open Air Museum in Szentendre takes place online with a Google spreadsheet that is accessible and editable for everyone. The link to the Google Spreadsheet is automatically signed by the volunteer coordinator and is easily accessible to anyone. Volunteers can choose themselves when and for what task they apply for and enter themselves in the table. Since everyone can see where and when the other one applied, it is possible to avoid having too many applications for one job. The volunteer coordinator can use the online spreadsheet to monitor and manage changes on a daily basis.

  • Statistics: there are several statistics that can be kept on volunteering (e.g. number of volunteer hours, age of volunteers) but each institution should keep a record of  volunteering hours. The main source of this is the attendance sheet, as it shows the number of volunteering hours actually worked. Volunteering hours can also be broken down by volunteer and by task.

Other databases and registers assisting the work:

  • database of participants in volunteer training;
  • database of rewards for volunteers;
  • special skills of volunteers
Area Document Legal obligation   Function Form
Recruitment, selection call Provides information on volunteering opportunities available online, downloadable online, download doc. (this is printable)
task description It gives an accurate picture of the nature and the framework of the activity to be undertaken online, download doc. (this is printable)
curriculum vitae, application form Building a database, serving as a basis for personal information and ability charts, can create queues printed
interview notes Interview memos, practically stored next to the CV and the application form on paper
contract A volunteer agreement for an indefinite period or for at least 10 days must be recorded in writing and kept for 5 years on paper
Introductory training checklist It enables the process of learning on paper
any quiz, questionnaire that is part of learning The improved version will be returned to the volunteer, but it may be advisable to keep at least one summary of the materials, as they can help in compiling the topics for future training on paper
mentor feedback formula Framework for mentor involvement and feedback, a traceable template, worth attaching to the CVs on paper
attendance sheet Presence can be tracked this way on paper
Continuous training written materials issued This creates a reference base on paper
attendance sheet Presence can be tracked this way on paper
any quiz, questionnaire that is part of the training The improved version will be returned to the volunteer, but it may be advisable to keep at least one summary of the materials, as they can help in compiling the topics for future training on paper
Feedback, recognition, reward certificate Recognition of volunteers, its lasting expression on paper
rewards given The rewards given to volunteers should be recorded, but it is also useful not to give later e.g. the same reward, book to the same person table
feedback sheets When a volunteer is able to self-evaluate, they may evaluate their development, or possibly feedback from mentors or part of the learning on paper
client feedback Useful inputs on the intrinsic value of volunteering to society (e.g. visitor questionnaire asking about volunteering) on paper, by mail
reference What the volunteer may have received for the job application is worth filing with the curriculum vitae on paper
booklet for measuring competences acquired, volunteer certificate Helps volunteers record and demonstrate the knowledge they have acquired on paper, digitally
General administration manual It lays down the principles of volunteering within the organisation on paper, digitally
travel cost reimbursement form (if relevant) if travel expenses are reimbursed to the volunteer Accounting basis for reimbursement of any travel expenses that may have been charged to the organisation on paper
press news It is worth printing the news in the press and store them in one place on paper
photos It is worth storing the photos taken in one place, an excellent source even for the end-of-year evaluation, nostalgia digitally
client statistics How many volunteers have used the service provided – important data for organisational reporting table
ability table Collects the volunteers’ language, special IT, lecturer, etc. skills in a single table, so the right person for a new assignment can be reached quickly or a new volunteer field can be outlined table
other statistics Age, employment statistics or other relevant statements may be useful for later dissemination, planning, CSO (Central Statistical Office) reporting table
exit questionnaire Good base material for future development on paper
Team-building volunteer newsletter It is a great community-building and informative resource, achievable by employing volunteers digitally, on paper

Contents of the documents

The following is a list of the content of the most important documents for receiving volunteers and operating the system.  The Volunteer Manual has been the subject of a separate article.

What should the volunteer contract include?

The volunteer relationship of public interest legal relationship can be established with an agreement between the volunteer and the receiving organisation, i.e., with a volunteer contract Act LXXXVIII of 2005 imposes certain requirements on the establishment of a legal relationship. In these cases, writing or the existence of specific content elements is essential.

The contract must include:

  • the volunteer’s personal information, address,
  • the content of volunteering,
  • the place where the activity is carried out,
  • time spent on the activity,
  • the rest time,
  • the beginning of volunteering (if it is completed for a specific period),
  • the benefits that are provided to the volunteer: theseshould also be provided in the event of termination of the contract!),
  • in some cases, the law may specify other mandatory elements of the contract

The diversity inherent in the nature of volunteering and the differences in the life situation of individual volunteers require individually formulated contracts. Therefore, when concluding contracts based on a template, it is worth agreeing individually with each volunteer on what will be included in their contract, subject to compliance with Act LXXXVIII of 2005 on Volunteering in the Public Interest.

What should the application form include?

The application form is the form through which the volunteer contacts the institution. It has mandatory elements (e.g. personal data,  contact details,   volunteer task to be filled, competencies – e.g. language skills), but the range of questions to be answered can be expanded optionally. In addition to the application form, a CV can also be requested. It is advisable to find out as much information as possible about the prospective volunteer.

For example:


  • Interests, hobby
  • Did they do any volunteer work? If so, what and where?
  • How many hours can they take per month?
  • On what day of the week and /or what period of the day would they be able to volunteer?
  • Why do they want to volunteer at our institution?
  • Where did they hear about the institution’s volunteer programme?
  • etc.

Application form for the Museum of Fine Arts Volunteer Programme.

What should the task description include?

It is advisable to draw up a brief description of each of the responsibilities within the institution, including the title and brief description of the role, the location of work, any requirements (e.g. language skills), conditions (e.g. pre-training) and the task can be performed continuously or only for a certain period. Accurate descriptions will help volunteers choose the tasks that suit their abilities and interests.

This article based on the following document:

Practical Guide for the Establishment and Operation of Volunteer Programmes at Institutions : abridged English version