Intake and Screening

Volunteer Intake
When potential volunteers respond to your recruitment efforts you should have a well prepared information package ready to share that will help them learn more about volunteering with your literacy organization. This intake package could contain the following information:

  • Overview of the organization
  • Overview of the position and any qualifications or skills needed
  • Length of the required training
  • Details about the screening and selection process
  • Supports the volunteer will receive from the agency
  • A written position description
  • An overview of the expected time commitment and any other requirements
  • An application form

Providing this type of information to potential volunteers from the very beginning will give them a clear understanding of the position, responsibilities, qualifications, required skills and time commitment. It will also allow potential volunteers to make an informed decision about continuing with the process.

Volunteer Screening
Screening refers to a range of activities that your organization should use to help it find the appropriate volunteers. It is about so much more than police checks! Screening will help you to create and maintain a safe environment for students, staff and volunteers.

Good screening and intake processes will also help to ensure that volunteers are placed in positions that best suit their abilities and interests. It also helps volunteers to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Volunteer screening is important for the protection of everyone involved with the literacy agency. Your organization is responsible legally, morally and ethically to protect people involved in your organization from harm. Literacy agencies need to ask themselves questions like:

  • Who in the organization is vulnerable and why are they vulnerable?
  • How can we ensure the safety of our volunteers, staff and learners?
  • For safety and security, does all tutoring happen onsite or in public locations?
  • What steps can you take to reduce or eliminate their vulnerability?

Volunteer Canada’s Safe Steps Screening Program
Volunteer Canada has developed a Safe Steps Screening Program. The program has 10 potential steps. Which steps you choose should be based on the level of risk associated with a particular task or position. For example, applicants for low risk positions may not need police checks but all ten steps should be applied to positions or tasks where the level of risk is high. This means that a volunteer who maintains your website and a volunteer who runs a family reading circle could be subjected to a different level of screening, based on the risks involved with each position.

Here are Volunteer Canada's 10 Safe Steps:

  1. Determine the risk
  2. Write a clear position description
  3. Establish a formal recruitment process
  4. Use an application form
  5. Conduct interviews
  6. Follow up on references
  7. Request a Police Records Check
  8. Conduct orientation and training sessions
  9. Supervise and evaluate
  10. Follow up with program participants.

You may find that you are already doing quite a few of the above steps in your agency.

You can learn more about Volunteer by visiting Canada's Safe Steps Screening Program.