Checklist for your Volunteer Orientation (Not Training) Package

a sign saying volunteer orientation

Crafting the Perfect Volunteer Orientation Package: A Comprehensive Guide

Volunteering is a cornerstone of community service, and the hearts that choose to give their time and energy deserve a warm welcome. The initial interaction between an organization and its volunteers sets the tone for the entire experience. That’s why creating an ideal volunteer orientation package is crucial. This package isn’t just about handing over documents; it’s about making volunteers feel valued and prepared for the journey ahead. Today’s post details what ought to be in your volunteer orientation package.

The Power of a Personalized Welcome

The journey begins with a personalized welcome letter. Today this can even be a recorded video welcome. This isn’t just a formality; it’s a genuine expression of gratitude. It should resonate with enthusiasm, conveying to volunteers that they are now vital members of your organization’s family.

You need, either in video or hard copy, to provide an overview of your organization—its history, mission, vision, and the goals that you’re collectively working towards. It’s essential for volunteers to feel connected to the bigger picture from day one.

The Pillars of Preparation: The Volunteer Handbook

Consider your volunteer handbook as the cornerstone of your orientation package. This isn’t merely a collection of guidelines—it’s the compass that will guide your volunteers through their service. Include everything from policies and procedures to rights and responsibilities. Make it comprehensive, but keep it digestible. Remember, this handbook is a reflection of your organization’s ethos and should be crafted with care.

You can create a hardcopy or a video/slide handbook. Any version will work, just give them something.

Building Trust Through Administrative Documents

Trust is built on transparency and responsibility, and this is where administrative documents play a key role. A contact information form is not only practical but also shows that you care for their safety and well-being. The volunteer agreement form outlines the mutual commitment and sets clear expectations.

Moreover, confidentiality is paramount. Whether it’s sensitive information about clients or internal processes, a confidentiality agreement safeguards trust. Additionally, a photo release form is crucial in today’s visual world—it allows you to celebrate and share your volunteers’ efforts publicly while respecting their privacy.

Setting the Stage: Orientation and Training

You’ve established the framework; now it’s time to prepare for the live interaction—orientation. Provide a detailed schedule that outlines when and where sessions will take place, and give an overview of any training that will be required. This foresight allows volunteers to manage their schedules accordingly and alleviates any anxiety about the unknown. We will discuss how to train your volunteers later this week.

Equipping with Resources

Knowledge is power, and an FAQ sheet can empower your volunteers by preemptively answering common inquiries. This shows forethought and consideration for their concerns. An organizational chart is also invaluable—it not only illustrates who does what but also shows volunteers where they fit in the larger scheme.

Behavior within your organization is governed by a code of conduct—a set of principles ensuring that everyone operates with respect and professionalism. Safety guidelines are equally important; they convey that you prioritize their welfare, providing peace of mind that allows them to focus on their tasks.

Closing with Acknowledgment

Finally, the acknowledgment of receipt confirms that volunteers have received, understand, and accept the contents of the orientation package. This is a key document that closes the loop on the orientation process and provides a record for both parties.

So Here is Your Checklist

Volunteer Orientation Package Checklist

Welcome Materials

  • Welcome Letter
  • Organization Overview
  • Volunteer Handbook

Administrative Documents

  • Contact Information Form
  • Volunteer Agreement Form
  • Confidentiality Agreement
  • Photo Release Form

Orientation and Training Information

  • Orientation Schedule
  • Training Overview

Additional Resources

  • FAQ Sheet
  • Organization Chart
  • Code of Conduct
  • Safety Guidelines


  • Acknowledgment of Receipt Form

Ensure each of these items is included in your orientation package before distributing it to volunteers.

Making It Virtual

Organizations can provide a virtual orientation package that is digital and video-based. This approach offers several advantages, especially where online engagement is increasingly prevalent. By leveraging digital and video formats for orientation materials, organizations can:

  1. Increase Accessibility: Virtual orientation packages can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making it easier for volunteers to participate regardless of their location.
  2. Enhance Engagement: Video-based content is more engaging and interactive than traditional written materials, capturing volunteers’ attention and fostering better understanding of the organization’s mission, values, and expectations.
  3. Consistency: A digital orientation package ensures that all volunteers receive the same information and training, maintaining consistency in the onboarding process.
  4. Convenience: Volunteers can review the orientation materials at their own pace and convenience, allowing for flexible scheduling and accommodating different learning styles.
  5. Cost-Effectiveness: Virtual orientations can reduce the costs associated with in-person training sessions, such as venue rental, printed materials, and staff time.

By combining digital resources with video content, organizations can create immersive and informative orientation packages that effectively onboard volunteers, align them with the organization’s goals, and prepare them for meaningful engagement in their roles.

Conclusion: The Art of Crafting an Orientation Experience

The art of crafting an effective volunteer orientation package is about striking a balance between providing necessary information and creating an inviting atmosphere. It’s a physical representation of your organization’s values and a tool to ensure that everyone starts on the same page—literally and figuratively.

Remember, while this package serves as an introduction, it’s the ongoing support, recognition, and development opportunities that will keep volunteers engaged. An excellent orientation package lays the foundation for a relationship built on clarity, respect, and shared purpose—a relationship that can grow into one of the most valuable assets your organization has.

Volunteers are are priceless. So, make your first impression count with an orientation package that honors their worth and prepares them for a fulfilling journey of service with your organization.