Volunteering activities

When defining the scope and responsibilities of volunteers, it is worth offering at least 2-3 different positions at the start of the programme, as this will give the volunteers more opportunities, potential changes, and opportunities for improvement, and will make the host organisation more attractive to them. It is expedient for the institution to make plans for unique, specific activities to create tasks. It can also record the amount of activities to be performed, which determines how many professionals and volunteers are needed to run the project. Once the activities to be performed have been clarified, it is expedient to record the expectations in writing in a form similar to a job description. In the meantime, we have to take into account the evaluation, the expectations we have to fulfil, in order to make our work really successful from the perspective of the project and its implementers. You can also prepare a general description of the volunteering involved in the daily workflow, which clearly defines the tasks and steps to be taken in connection with the given process.


The following table provides a sample of how to formulate a volunteer job description. The table contains 3 columns. The first column lists the potential volunteering activities, while to the right in the same line the advantages and disadvantages of the particular volunteering activities are described.


Activity Advantage Disadvantage
Operation of an information desk / service The visitor sees a smiling face and the risk of apathy is smaller. More people can be mobilised flexibly and quickly, even for a single event. Volunteers can do it as an independent activity. It can only be achieved with more volunteers than with full-time paid colleagues and therefore requires a strong coordinator presence to maintain a consistent standard. It also depends on changes in the environment. It is not advisable to link money handling to it.
Guided tour Extra services are available on a regular basis (at team level) in a variety of languages, on different topics, for the client base. Volunteers can do it as an independent activity. Teaching volunteers as the face and professional representatives of the institution requires intense training.
Translation It provides valuable and sometimes rare-language assistance. Volunteers can do it as an independent activity. It requires a reviewer for professional documents.
Administration, data recording, digitisation, registration tasks, sorting library documents, warehouse labelling, enveloping It takes a burden off the colleagues. With regular people, regular activity, plenty of time can be saved for the staff. Independent activity. It requires precision. It requires training and control (even ex-post control may be needed). In case of large fluctuation, the employee does the task rather than assigning it.
Museum pedagogical tasks, camp service During group sessions it helps to focus attention on 15-20 people, participants are very grateful, it means increasing the quality of service. Typically, volunteers take part in this as assistants, accompanying a museum educator bearing professional responsibility.
Hands On! Programme It provides experience for clients taking original or copied objects in their hands through the distribution of live information. As the face of the institution and its professional representative, the training of volunteers requires intense and varied training.
Event organisation, arrangement In areas demanding attention, help with enthusiasm, sufficient flexibility, good problem solving skills in repeating monotonous sub-tasks is more advantageous than an overworked, inattentive, apathetic employee.

It is also worth doing it with a stable staff. A large number of volunteers may be involved on an occasional basis (e.g. Museum Night: preparation of amateur performing and creative arts programmes, participation in organising [help desk, registration, seating tasks, ticketing, greeting, hospitality]).

Occasionally, the need for training may be high if the volunteer does not yet have a view of the organisation. Training should be carefully thought through, preferably also in writing.
Communication and marketing tasks (blogging, article writing, image design, event photography, video recording of programmes, short film, flyer design) Being a non-full-time employee is an extremely credible activity, so it is a huge help in increasing the social base. Creative task. Volunteers can perform it with paid staff or individual work. Young people can be easily motivated because the results of their activities are immediately visible, audible and readable. There is no time and energy for communication training, therefore harmonic cooperation is possible only with volunteers who have basically good abilities. Maintaining the motivation and positive experience of the volunteer (which is why HR is demanding) is very important and fluctuation is relatively high.
Market research, questionnaires It is very time-consuming to reach the clientele in a statistically adequate proportion. It is worth having some preliminary professional training in communication or analytics.
IT help (website, newsletter, newsletter editing) Rare and often invaluable expertise appears in the organisation. It can be done independently and occasionally from home. When a service is provided to clients, then it is a service extension. Because of the volunteer’s typically other intense activity, predictability, regularity, and frequency can be a complicating factor. Providing services to clients is a task that can be taken with a lower (and therefore not necessarily controlled) IT knowledge.
Supporting and promoting the Group of Supporters / Friendship Group Volunteers’ commitment to the organisation is a good basis for promoting the organisation, often done by volunteers who appear as supporters themselves. The potential dual status makes it more sensitive to what information the volunteer receives about the organisation and the degree of transparency.
Work in the collections Many of the tasks backlisted due to the lack of resources can be performed, e.g., database management, heritage maintenance, logistics work. It is up to the characters and attitudes of the colleagues in the collection to allow volunteers in this area.
Other professional tasks (e.g. training organisation, dissemination of knowledge) Well-done work takes a heavy burden off the staff. Initially, it may be difficult to gain the trust of the employee. Negative but constructive feedback may be more difficult in a relationship of trust between two persons. Perform administrative tasks accurately.
Room guard tasks It can be a (temporary) solution for organisations in financial difficulties. It is debatable how basic it is and can be a source of severe conflict between value protection and volunteering, and when both paid and unpaid staff perform the particular task at one and the same time.
Easy physical work such as gardening, painting, landscaping, planting, participating in renovation work Anyone can do it, it does not require any special preparation. Occasional, so its coordination is well plannable By its occasional nature, it does not represent a long-term volunteer commitment. By its occasional nature, it is strictly compliant with rules. Suitable for receiving volunteers, there is little opportunity for creative solutions or thinking together (but it depends on the organisation).
Economic development, community development, local community development Committed, active citizens with an innovative, development-oriented mindset can be involved who want to act for their own settlement. Small town volunteers are active participants in workshops, give ideas, encourage joint action and actively participate in the development processes. Cooperation at municipal level does not come about without the participation of a management led by a professional,, a local voice or an influencer; or the influencer’s attitude and lack of cooperation ability can become a barrier.
Compilation of municipal depositories Anyone can join the collection, and the use of infocommunication tools facilitates value exploration. It can also be attractive to young people. Care and management of materials and values collected by volunteers requires professional knowledge and cooperation with professional organisations is recommended. By its occasional nature, it does not represent a long-term volunteer commitment.

This article based on the following document: This article based on the following document: Practical Guide for the Establishment and Operation of Volunteer Programmes at Institutions : abridged English version