When someone comes to your website interested to volunteer, they want to learn as much as they can about your organization and explore roles available before clicking that ‘apply’ button. A simple way to ease potential volunteers into the process is by posting a FAQ page online.
A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is a fantastic way to house specific information about your volunteer program and give people an inkling for what they can expect when signing up. It is probably the most overlooked, but important communication tool a volunteer manager has to set up volunteers to succeed within their organization.
Why Publish a Volunteer FAQ?
There are a number of benefits to creating a Volunteer FAQ — the most obvious one being that it can save a huge amount of time for the person responsible for answering queries about volunteering. Many people tasked with managing volunteers do this as part of their job, so it’s even more important to be efficient when it’s not a full-time commitment. If you are working at a festival or running a popular volunteer program, chances are you are receiving hundreds or thousands of applications each year. In these cases, an FAQ is almost mandatory to maintain your sanity.
While having a one-to-one conversation with incoming volunteers is valuable, instead of sounding like a recording with answers to the same questions, direct them to the FAQ first. That way, once you do speak it’s easier to get to the heart of why they want to volunteer and start matching their specific skills and interests.
While a FAQ solidifies for many people that volunteering at your organization is exactly what they are looking for, it will also deter volunteers that are not suited for the kinds of opportunities you offer. Working with volunteers is rewarding, yet onboarding and training someone that isn’t a fit can be very costly to an organization if it doesn’t work out. It’s better to be clear on expectations from the start before you both invest too much time and an FAQ is a smart way to do that.
Reviewing an FAQ will give a volunteer confidence that they are on the right track and know what to expect next. By establishing this as an initial stage in the volunteer recruitment and onboarding process you are starting the relationship out on the right foot. It’s a place to outline what skills and experience you are looking for, availability, timelines, qualifications or training involved. A thoughtful FAQ demonstrates that you are an organization that values volunteering andis considerate of their time and experience.
There is often something driving a person to volunteer for your organization, so capture that motivation and use it to reassure them you’re ready to for what they have to offer.
What Goes into a Volunteer FAQ?
Think of the FAQ as the first place your volunteers can go to for answers. Knowing some volunteers will come to you with a lot of questions, provide high-quality content about your organization and what steps are required of them directly on this page by addressing the volunteer needs.
Create a list of questions that volunteers ask the most often. The easiest way to do this is to put yourself in your volunteer’s shoes. Provide in-depth and valuable answers to these questions. Feel free to add links or contact information should they require more information.
FAQ answers should give insight to your organization, the roles your volunteers could be doing, and the overall volunteer process. Be concise enough to offer information that is necessary.
Recommendations for a Fantastic FAQ Page
Make it human. Write in a way that someone would naturally be asked or answered if in person so it has the right tone and voice of your organization.
There isn’t a correct number of questions and answers to have in your Volunteer FAQ. Be sure to avoid redundancy or irrelevant content for the audience that may be reading. People shouldn’t have to scroll for too long before they find the answers they need. The point of an FAQ isn’t to answer everything as that’s impossible, so really pare down to the essentials.
Before publishing, have another person edit the questions and answers to make sure it is succinct, with no spelling or grammar mistakes. It’s also helpful to share your Volunteer FAQ with someone outside of your organization for review to see if it makes sense, or you’re missing any pertinent questions a new person might need to know.
Since an FAQ page is public, it will be seen by both potential volunteers and current volunteers. It’s important to consider your audience. Do you work with seniors, students, corporate groups, or court mandated community service? Consider the order in which you publish the questions so it has the right flow when reading.
Your Volunteer FAQ should have a dedicated URL that you can share with volunteers on email or social media. It may also be helpful to embed a link in the footer of your email, blog, within application descriptions, or your organization’s website content.
The Volunteer FAQ is a living document. It should be constantly evolving as your volunteer program does. Don’t feel as if you can’t go in and make edits, adding and removing questions and answers based on relevancy.
A list of sample questions to kickstart your Volunteer FAQ:
- Who can volunteer?
- Do I need to submit an application or a resume to volunteer?
- Will I have to join the schedule in advance or can I just show up?
- Are there certain skills or training that I need in order to volunteer?
- What is the time commitment of volunteering?
- Do I need to have a Background Check in order to volunteer?
- Can I volunteer with my friends or family?
- If I have further questions about my volunteer experience, who can I talk to?