Writing Volunteer Position Descriptions

A volunteer position description outlines the work that needs to be done by the volunteer. An incredibly useful tool, the description forms the basis for your recruitment effort because it defines the assignment, skills, abilities and interests necessary to perform the task successfully. Although there are any number of ways to develop task assignments, the following items reflect key components of the assignment guide.

Position Title
A specific, descriptive title that gives the volunteer a sense of identity and helps the salaried staff and other volunteers understand the assigned role. A title should reflect the function of the position, not the position's pay scale. For example, since you do not call the salaried receptionist "Paid Receptionist," why would you therefore title the volunteer receptionist by his or her pay status?

Work Location
The location where the individual will be working. Can this assignment be done at home or must the person be on site? Is there public transportation near the work site?

Volunteer Impact
The purpose of the overall project and/or program and how the volunteer's work will impact the project's outcome, clients, or mission. It is critical to identify expected impact in both direct service and administrative assignments so that volunteers will be aware of the importance of their work.

Responsibilities and Duties
List responsibilities and duties that are specific and clearly define what the volunteer is expected to do on the assignment.

Be clear and concise. List qualifications required for the position. Include education, personal characteristics, skills, abilities and/or experience required.

Commitment Required
Commitment asked of the volunteer in terms of the minimum length of service, hours per week, and any other special requirements.

Indicate nature and length of all general and position-specific training required for the assignment.

The date the description was written or the date that it was most recently updated.

Volunteer Supervisor and their Contact Information
Whom to call for more information about the opportunity.


Descriptions should be developed for committees as well as for individuals.

You may want to include signature lines for the volunteer manager and the site supervisor to make sure that they are in agreement.