Volunteers are the cogs that make the nonprofit industry function. But let's be honest — volunteers can be a massive pain point if a few bad apples slip into the stall. We've heard a million horror stories of volunteering gone wrong. Whether that's that one volunteer who wants to "do things their way" or it's a volunteer who's there to self-serve and create mission-stalling work distractions, you need to make sure that your volunteers are adequately vetted.
And that starts with the volunteering application forms and process. Including the right fields and asking for the right information on your apps makes a huge difference. Over 25% of the US adult population volunteer at events. You want to make sure that the ones you choose can represent your brand and help spread your mission in a positive way.
Get this — over 44% of organizations say that their biggest onboarding challenge is application inconsistencies. Here's everything you should include on your volunteer application to stay out of that statistic.
+20 Fields Your Volunteer Application Form NEEDS to Have
- Name: This one is probably self-explanatory. But, this is where their name goes.
- Contact information: You should always grab contact information — which is almost always a mobile phone or email.
- General information: You want all of the fields you will need to run a proper background check. This includes addresses, SSN, etc.
- Driver license #: You should also ask for their driver's license number for extra security and identify confirmation.
- Emergency contacts: Gather emergency contact information in case of an emergency.
- Languages: Did you know that around 20% of Americans speak more than one language? This can help you better designate roles and take advantage of different skills.
- Previous experience: Have they volunteered before? If so, where? This will help you determine if they have experience with this sort of work or not when determining where to place them.
- Criminal history: This section is critical from a legal and safety perspective.
- Certifications: You never know what kinds of certifications your volunteer base could have. Ask them to discover any hidden skills you may be able to utilize.
- Skills checklist: Ask your volunteers what kinds of skills that they have. Again, this can help immensely when it comes time to assigning roles. You want the person with customer service experience working the merch booth and the person with security experience manning the gates to your event — not vice versa.
- Preferred roles: What volunteering roles would they prefer to work? Since they're working for free, this can help you figure out what they're good at and what they actually want to do. Happy volunteers are 20% more productive.
- Referral check: Ask them how they discovered the position. This can help your marketing team understand where to allocate resources.
- Availability: You should figure out when everyone can work to help you schedule their shifts.
- Reason for volunteering: Why are they here? You want to keep your eyes out for anything strange. Remember, these volunteers are going to represent your organization.
- Current job: Where do they currently work? Again, you can learn more about their background and talent.
- Hobbies: Ask them about their hobbies. This will help you discover hidden skills and talents.
- Commitment check: Why are they volunteering? You should ask! This can also help your marketing team discover hidden reason why people volunteer and promote that for the next event.
- Additional information: Put any other information they need to know at the bottom before signing so they confirm that they understand everything.
- Disclaimers: Make sure you include any legal disclaimers.
- Mission reinforcement: Remind them why they're here. What is it that your nonprofit does? And why is your mission important?
- Signature and date: They have to sign the document and put the date down.
Purplepass Ticketing isn't just a software for event planning. You can also use it for scheduling and creating volunteer registration forms and it's free! Watch this video on how to create your volunteer campaign and sign up page in your Purplepass account.