Edinburgh Local

Managing volunteers

It’s possible that you may end up managing volunteers when undertaking community engagement activities.

Doing this well will make sure everyone involved with your initiative has the best possible experience. It is also likely to improve volunteer retention, saving you time and energy in the long-run. Last but by no means least, it will help mitigate any risks posed by your initiative.

Useful reading on managing volunteers is available from:



Recognition may be something you want to bear in mind in terms of keeping your volunteers engaged. The University offers the Edinburgh Award and there are also external schemes such as the Saltire Award. Remember that volunteers may also welcome recognition in more informal ways, such as social events, telling their stories in communications, or even a simple shout-out in a Facebook group! Always make sure you give time to simply getting to know your volunteers – the personal touch goes a long way.

Alternatively, you might have a small budget from which you can pay for small amounts of people’s time. In this circumstance, the following guidance, produced by colleagues in the College of Science and Engineering, explains the steps that you will need to take. It is written with employing students in mind, but the principles may be useful for engaging others also.