Read about the process of applications

Application Process

How to Correctly Process Applications

If someone wants to be a volunteer, they have every right to apply. All potential volunteers should be dealt with promptly and a named contact must be available for anyone who wants to apply (in most cases this will be the VSM).

Some organisations use a manual application form process and others an online recruitment process to register volunteers.

The more standardised and automatic processes are, the easier it will be to process them. For example, you could:

  • Place an application form online on the Trust website so that applicants can download the form directly, these can be linked directly to volunteer databases reducing administration work
  • Set up a generic email address (eg ‘ for all application enquiries and task someone to respond to emails daily
  • Manage expectations by clearly explaining the application process on the website or in literature (what is involved and how long it is likely to take) to avoid applicants losing interest because of perceived delays.

When dealing with a large number of requests from potential volunteers, online recruitment is usually the best way to manage the process. However, complex application processes or forms can have the potential to be off-putting for potential volunteers.

They can also present a barrier to many people, for example, people with English as a second language, learning difficulties, dyslexia, poor literacy skills, sight problems and so on. Recruitment processes and application forms should therefore be as simple and easy to follow as possible, asking only for information that is needed for the recruitment process.

What to include in an application form?

An application form should not ask for unnecessary information such as race or religion (if demographic data needs to be recorded speak with your equality and diversity lead on how to capture this information). It might include the following:

  • Personal details: name, address, postcode, telephone / mobile, date of birth, email address
  • preferred method of contact
  • Previous experience: work / voluntary
  • Skills, Qualifications or languages spoken
  • Names of referees –x2 referees
  • Why the applicant wishes to volunteer and what kind of voluntary work they are interested in
  • Preferred location (if multiple sites/community)
  • What their availability is (times / days)
  • Drivers licence (if you recruit for driving roles)
  • Emergency contact: name, phone number & relationship (this may be included on the application form or if you feel that that is too intrusive you may wish to only ask for this information once an applicant is about to start volunteering).
  • Rehabilitation of Offenders declaration (the application form should include some sort of brief declaration but may also include your Trust’s full declaration document).

The application form might also include information on the Trust’s policies on:

  • Rehabilitation of offenders
  • Data Protection
  • Equality and Diversity/li>

A good starting point for putting together an application form is to use a copy of the Trust’s existing HR form and to adapt it for volunteers.

For more information, support or advice contact your local NAVSM networking hub to explore how other organisations receive applications from potential volunteers


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