Volunteer tasks and role description

Before you recruit volunteers you should work out the main tasks that need to be done and produce a task list or role description.

It is helpful to say how long each task will take. For example, if a food co-op runs a stall once a week from 10am-12pm, a volunteer would probably need to help for 3 hours per week. This would cover running the stall, but also include time for setting up and packing up afterwards.

Tasks could also be divided up into the day-to-day activities involved in selling the produce, for example: ordering the food from suppliers; serving customers; or packing bags or boxes. Volunteer tasks might include other activities involved in managing and developing the food co-op, for example: writing press releases; applying for funding; or doing the accounts.

It is important to allocate tasks according to people's capabilities and preferences. For example, you may have volunteers who don't want to count money but are happy to put the produce out on display.

If your food co-op is working with - or as part of - a larger organisation such as a housing association or primary care trust, it may be that paid staff will take on some of the tasks. Alternatively, it may be an explicit aim of your organisation to help train volunteers to take on roles such as financial management, in which case tasks can be allocated as part of your plan for training or work experience.


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