Eligibility: who can volunteer?
Marion County has volunteer staff working in many of its 16 departments. Volunteer efforts add support for county departments and expand services to the public. Although volunteer assistance is not free, it is a valuable tool to involve the public in service delivery and understanding of their local government.
Volunteers are all ages, from all ethnic backgrounds and have a variety of skills. They have many reasons for volunteering. When a department strives to meet the needs of a volunteer, the department’s needs are met and the match is successful.
We shall define a volunteer as "any person who donates approved service without pay or reimbursement other than approved incidental expenses for those services rendered."
Each department may develop specific guidelines for intern and practicum students and volunteers under the age of 18.
Who is a volunteer?
Persons who provide services to Marion County without pay and fit the following criteria:
Who is not a volunteer:
Volunteers in county departments are considered unpaid staff and should be given the same access to orientation, training, and respect as paid staff. While they are volunteering for the county, volunteers are expected to adhere to the same policies and procedures as paid staff. Volunteers enable the county to expand services, provide support for paid staff and are a valuable resource!
County employees as volunteers
County employees may volunteer in county departments if the following criteria* are met:
1) The volunteer position is with an established volunteer program.2) The duties of the position are outside the employee’s normal work duties.3) No work time is used to perform the volunteer duties.4) The employee signs a waiver indicating that the decision to volunteer is entirely his or her own and no payment for the work will be made.
*Individual issues regarding county employees in volunteer situations may be referred to the county’s volunteer coordinator.
The county volunteer services coordinator is responsible for developing and implementing a countywide and individual recruitment plans in cooperation with the county departments. Departments are responsible for supplying and updating information to the county volunteer services coordinator regarding volunteer positions within their department.
Departments may recruit independently, as well as within the countywide recruitment. In fact, departments are encouraged to use all avenues available to recruit volunteers. It is important that the information departments use to recruit is shared on a timely basis with the county volunteer services coordinator, so information given to the public is up-to-date and accurate.
The county volunteer coordinator will submit open volunteer jobs to:
In accordance with Title VI, departments must provide volunteer opportunity announcements to ethnic and traditional media. With 48 hours advance notice, departments must be able to provide volunteer information in accessible forms.
Each department is responsible for compiling a list of the volunteer opportunities that have been defined within that department. The list may be used to distribute at volunteer and intern fairs, the county fair or posted for public review in Business Services or other public areas. Assistance with creating volunteer job descriptions from which a recruitment message is developed is available from the county volunteer services coordinator and the county public information coordinator.
Creating volunteer jobs
Once your department has decided to involve volunteers there are some steps to consider. As you know, volunteers are not free. So plan accordingly. For this to be successful you must put some thought into the process, in the beginning and ongoing for the duration of the volunteer’s service with your department.
It is important to understand the difference in volunteer and paid positions:
• A volunteer job should always be created to support paid staff and should not be the same as a paid position. • Volunteer jobs should provide additional assistance to the department and not be developed to cover core departmental jobs.
• If a paid position is not filled, but will be eventually, a volunteer should not be placed in that position until a paid person is hired.
• A prospective employee may volunteer until he or she is hired. Officially, a person becomes an employee when the job offer is accepted, so at that time he or she is no longer able to volunteer in that position.
• Most volunteer positions should be developed as part-time positions that can be done on a flexible schedule.
• Working without a paycheck does not make volunteers unreliable. They can be trusted to perform jobs which handle sensitive or confidential information and money as long as adequate background screening and training is provided to complement the duties and responsibilities.
Thoughts & tips for planning volunteer jobs
1. Make sure your volunteer jobs are created to supplement and support staff, not to replace paid staff.
2. Involve salaried staff in the planning and developing of volunteer positions. Allow ample time to hear ideas, needs and concerns from all staff who will interact with the volunteer, even on a limited basis.
3. Reach outside the conventional idea of what volunteers do and be creative as you look at your "wish list" and develop jobs for volunteers.
4. Ask who will supervise and train the volunteer. Remember, getting good volunteers is the task of recruitment — keeping them is everyone’s job.
5. What are the requirements for the time involved and the work schedule for the job? Are they fixed or flexible? Is the job on-going or will it end with a project?
6. How will you evaluate the job and the volunteer? How will you make the volunteer feel appreciated for the job he or she is doing?
Use the Volunteer Request Form to create your new volunteer positions.And, don't forget that volunteers come in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of reasons for volunteering. They are all unique. Don’t presume to know who is a volunteer. Throw away your old ideas about volunteers and take on a fresh perspective as you develop volunteer jobs because just about everyone is a volunteer at some point, for some reason in his or her life. And again, volunteers are not free. Your department must be willing to provide the training, supervision, evaluation and recognition, all necessary ingredients to productive, satisfied volunteers.
Steps for placing a prospective volunteerWhen a prospective volunteer contacts the county volunteer services coordinator, he or she will:
Included in the sample forms on this web page you will find a Volunteer Request Form for departments to use to request volunteers from the county volunteer coordinator. As you develop volunteer jobs for your department, use the request form as an outline for the job description.
After you complete the request form, submit it to the county volunteer services coordinator. After the form is received, the county volunteer services coordinator may contact you for additional information about the job and to discuss recruitment possibilities. He or she will then enter the new volunteer position into the county volunteer services database and send a draft to the department to approve.Once a volunteer is referred to the department, staff in the department will:
An Volunteer Supervisor Instruction and Orientation Checklist is available.
Note: If at any time the department determines that the volunteer is not suited for an open position, the volunteer may be referred back to the county’s volunteer coordinator for another volunteer placement. It is important to make sure staff, volunteer, and job are all compatible. It is important that this works for you!
Although the county volunteer services coordinator cannot guarantee a match for every volunteer position, every effort will be made to find a qualified person to fill each job. For help in creating volunteer jobs, training staff in volunteer management, putting an evaluation or recognition plan in place, or any other concerns you have regarding volunteers and volunteer programs, contact the county volunteer services coordinator.
Volunteer screening: the process and getting started
Volunteers become involved in county programs in many different ways. Although the county strives to make this process a smooth one, there is certain paperwork and information that must be completed and provided.
The county volunteer services coordinator conducts New Volunteer Orientation for individuals every two weeks and, upon request. The county volunteer services coordinator may be invited and scheduled to conduct a New Volunteer Orientation for groups of volunteers who are participating in a department training. Volunteers may begin volunteering before attending an orientation, but orientation must occur within 15 days of placement.
If departments wish to conduct the New Volunteer Orientation as part of their own training program, they must consult the county volunteer services coordinator before implementation.
Included in this web page are samples of:
Volunteer & Intern Application Form
Reference Check Form
Volunteer Request Form
These forms were developed by the county volunteer services coordinator. Departments may use their own application, reference check and interview forms; however, the Volunteer Request Form must be used to create volunteer positions. If departments choose to use their own application, they must supply a copy of the application with the Volunteer Request Form when submitting a new volunteer to the county volunteer services coordinator.
Each volunteer should have a volunteer file in the department which contains:
The recommendation for the contents of a volunteer file are the ideal for a volunteer file; however, volunteer jobs, like volunteers, are varied and require some variation in documentation. For instance, if a volunteer is only coming in to the department for a one-time, one-day or short-term event some pieces of the volunteer file may not be necessary.
At the minimum, every volunteer should have a written record of their volunteer service. For specific questions or concerns about volunteer documentation, contact the county volunteer services coordinator in Human Resources. Forms to be used for short-term volunteers are:1) Short-term Application Form (contains a brief job description)2) Adult Event Volunteer Form3) Youth Event Volunteer FormSupervising volunteers
Congratulations on your new volunteer. The Supervisor Instructions and Orientation Checklist is a summary of information for those who are supervising volunteers in county departments.
Conduct an interview
Checklist for a department’s volunteer orientation:
Once you and the volunteer decide that you have a match, set a time for the volunteer to begin work, and then be prepared to conduct a tour and introduce the volunteer to ALL employees in the department or anyone the volunteer may come in contact with — even if it’s on the way to the restroom or lunchroom. You get the idea! The volunteer and staff need to be aware of each other even if they may not interact on a regular basis. Before you conduct your tour of the office, make a list of the things that the volunteer will need to know like phone, mail, restrooms, kitchen, proper dress, workplace safety, department procedures, etc.
Once the general office or department setting is explained, plan to spend time acclimating the volunteer to the new work space, as well as the duties of the job. Make sure the volunteer is clear on who is his or her resource for questions, supplies, concerns, etc. of the job. If that person is not you, make sure the volunteer knows who it is, where they work, and how to contact them (i.e. call, walk in, make an appointment, or other).
Remember to give your volunteer encouragement and support
Lastly, keep accurate records of hours of service, accomplishments, and evaluations,
Again should you determine at any time in the process that the volunteer and the job are not compatible, please refer the volunteer back to the county volunteer services coordinator, so that he or she may be recommended for another position.
Documentation of volunteer hours
Departments should keep a record of volunteers hours for the individual volunteer. Since many volunteers include their volunteer service on job and other types of applications, they count on their volunteer supervisor to keep accurate work records. Departments are also encouraged to keep a cumulative record of volunteer numbers and hours that may be used by the department and is requested by county volunteer coordinator annually. Hour sheet forms are available from the county's volunteer coordinator in Human Resources.
Individual volunteer hours
Volunteer hours are recorded by departments for individual volunteers for reporting on evaluations, recognition, and employment reference. Individual records are kept in the volunteer’s "personnel" file. The method used for recording volunteer hours is the individual department’s choice.
Total volunteer hours
Departments are encouraged to keep volunteer records of the total number of volunteer hours contributed annually during the calendar year. An annual report with number of volunteers and volunteer hour totals is compiled by county volunteer coordinator for the Board of Commissioners. The compilation is used for recognition and support of Marion County volunteers and their contribution to the county. Some departments are required to keep volunteer records for grant funding and state funding requirements. Departments may choose to keep additional statistics and volunteer records to meet their individualized needs.
Recognition of volunteers
The county’s volunteer coordinator will be responsible for some type of county-wide recognition of Marion County volunteers; however, departments will want to recognize their volunteers on a daily basis and throughout the year. Many departments have recognition gatherings already organized. Included in this web page are some ideas on different ways to recognize volunteers.
Recognition does not have to big and flashy or expensive to be appreciated. Volunteer recognition is ongoing throughout the year and is most often shown in less tangible ways like saying "thanks" or pointing out what a good job was done. Volunteers may be nominated for the county’s Volunteer Awards held each April during National Volunteer Week.
The county volunteer coordinator stocks volunteer recognition pins and other items imprinted with the county logo for departments to purchase (under $4). You may view the items on the Intranet at Volunteer Recognition Items.
Dismissing a volunteer
Volunteers, like paid staff, may be dismissed or released from volunteer service. It is important to document any problems the department may be having with a volunteer in the volunteer’s file. Consistent and accurate documentation of the problem and what counseling steps have been taken will substantiate the need for dismissal. However, before you decide to dismiss a volunteer, determine if the goals and objectives of the job assignment were made clear. It is possible that the volunteer misunderstood the assignment? Another alternative to dismissal may be a different job or transfer to another department. Take time to ask the volunteer questions and listen to the answers.
Provide progressive discipline. If you discern a problem, begin with one-on-one coaching to correct the behavior. If coaching does not change the behavior, give the volunteer a verbal reprimand stating what the problem is and how it may be changed to be acceptable. Make sure that the verbal reprimand is supported by a written summation in the volunteer’s file. If the problem persists, the volunteer may be given a written reprimand that states the consequences (dismissal) if the problem is not corrected. Include a copy of the written reprimand in the volunteer’s file. If at the completion of these steps the problem has not been corrected to a satisfactory level, the volunteer may be dismissed.
A poor attitude, attendance problems, difficulty with job duties, a problem following department and volunteer policy and procedures are all valid reasons for dismissal. If after all other options have been exhausted and the volunteer needs to be dismissed, consider the following guidelines:
Guidelines for Dismissing a Volunteer
Liability and insurance coverage
Marion County strives to offer employees and volunteers a safe and pleasant place to work and volunteer. To achieve this environment some planning and policies must be implemented.
Orientation for volunteers
The Marion County Volunteer Orientation (MCVO) information compiled by the county’s volunteer coordinator covers overall policies for Marion County. Departments are strongly encouraged to ensure all volunteers receive MCVO. The county orientation is complementary to the department orientation.
Information covered in the Marion County Volunteer Orientation
Use of Computer, Fax, E-mail & Internet
Preventing Harassment & Discrimination
Preventing Workplace Violence
Drug & Alcohol Policy
No Smoking Ordinance
Legal Holidays for County Offices
Volunteer Rights & Responsibilities
General Information About County Depts.
Maps of Department Campuses
Safety in the workplace
Volunteers are introduced to general safety in the workplace and personal injury procedures as part of the MCVO. Departments are responsible for providing volunteers with safety and personal injury guidelines for specific jobs and work locations. When personal protection equipment is required for the position, the volunteer must either provide his or her own or be properly equipped by the department and trained in the use of the equipment prior to engaging in any such work. Volunteers may only perform functions requiring a license or certification if they have the current license or certification that is required for that particular function.
Each department must provide training for volunteers on the requirements of the job and departmental procedures, including all safety aspects. Departments are encouraged to take advantage of shared trainings and other outside sources for volunteer training. For more information on training opportunities for volunteers, contact the county’s volunteer coordinator.
Insurance and accident reporting
Volunteers who are appointed in writing by a department for specified duties are covered under the Marion County Volunteer and Client Injury Coverage, see Administrative Policy G-09 included in the appendix of this section.
Volunteers are covered one of two ways depending on the type of volunteer job:Workers’ Compensation will provide coverage for:
a) Sheriff’s Office Deputy Reserve Officers
b) Sheriff’s Office Cadets
c) Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team members
d) Sheriff’s Office Posse membersVolunteer and Client Injury Coverage (VCIC) will provide coverage for:
a) Sheriff’s Office VOICE volunteers
b) Sheriff’s Office Citizen’s Academy members
d) All other volunteers
Coverage for VCIC is initiated when departments submit a completed copy of the Volunteer Placement Form (job description and volunteer’s acceptance of county policies) for each volunteer to be included in the coverage to the county’s volunteer coordinator. Coverage is in effect on the date the county’s volunteer coordinator receives the completed Volunteer Placement Form. For more information contact the county’s volunteer coordinator. Workers’ Compensation coverage is initiated based on department records.
All volunteer injuries must be reported within 24 hours to Risk Management on the Marion County Occupational Injury Report Form, included as a sample form in the appendix of this section. The form must be signed by both the supervisor and the injured person. Worker’s Compensation claims are submitted on the 801 Form (obtained from Risk Management).
Any damage to personal or county vehicles, property, or personal injuries that occurs during a volunteer’s official volunteer duties for Marion County must be reported immediatedly to his or her supervisor.
For a claim to be filed the following documents must be completed and submitted to Risk Management:
1) Marion County Occupational Injury Report Form
2) The form appropriate to claimant’s coverage
a) VCIC claims on Volunteer Injury Compensation Request Form
b) Workers’ Compensation on 801 Form
3) A copy of the Volunteer Placement Form on record with the county’s volunteer coordinator.
VCIC covers volunteers for up to $5000 for medical expenses or death benefit and $500 for dental expenses. The volunteer’s own group medical or disability coverage is primary. For additional terms, limits, and exclusions please consult Marion County Administrative Policy G-9.
Workers’ Compensation is provided in accordance with the statutory limits of ORS 659.450.
Volunteers driving and use of a county vehicle:
Volunteers may be cleared to drive county vehicles if a DMV driving check is completed and filed in the volunteer’s personnel file.
Volunteers may use private vehicles for their official volunteer work if a DMV driving check is completed and proof of insurance filed in the volunteer’s personnel file.
Volunteers may drive county clients in a private or county vehicle if the department submits for approval to Risk Management documentation of the DMV driving check and proof of insurance along with a written description of the type, purpose, destination, and frequency of the volunteer’s trips transporting clients.
Marion County clients may be transported by volunteers only after the department has received clearance from Risk Management. This does not include Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputies. They are exempt. Departments are responsible for orienting the volunteer to the use of a county vehicle and what to do in case of an accident.
For more information see Administrative Policy H-04 or contact the county’s volunteer coordinator or Risk Management.
Volunteers are expected to adhere to the same confidentiality guidelines as paid county staff and as explained in the Marion County Volunteer Orientation.
Dismissal from volunteer service
Any volunteer who is unable or unwilling to adhere to the volunteer policies and procedures as outlined in Marion County Volunteer Orientation, the boundaries of the job description, and/or the criteria set by the county or the department may be dismissed from volunteer service. Please see supervisor responsibilities for information on dismissing a volunteer.
Volunteers are expected to adhere to the Marion County and departmental policies and procedures for volunteers while acting in their official duties as outlined on their job description. Volunteers are introduced to these policies and procedures during the Marion County Volunteer Orientation and sign an agreement on the Volunteer Placement Form, stating that they will abide by the policies and procedures while volunteering for Marion County.
Departments may expand or create additional policies and procedures that are specific to the department and its volunteer jobs and responsibilities.
Successful working agreements in community outreach
Marion County departments may have the opportunity to cooperate or collaborate on community projects with other governments, agencies or community groups. Volunteers are often an integral part of the plan for a project or collaboration, but groups doing the planning may not have identified who is responsible for the management and liability of volunteers involved.
As a result, Marion County departments have a responsibility to define and clarify the role of volunteers when working in partnerships with other governments, agencies, or community groups. The roles designated to volunteers must be defined, and the government, agency, or community group identified which accepts the liability for the participating volunteers. It may or may not be the same group which accepts responsibility for management of the volunteers.
It is recommended that the partnership utilize a memorandum of understanding or an interagency agreement as a tool for defining roles and responsibilities, including volunteers. Samples are available from the county’s volunteer coordinator. The memorandum of understanding or interagency agreement should provide a description of who is responsible for volunteer management and liability. The agreement should outline what is and is not covered; all parties involved must agree to the terms.
Partnerships of this kind are as varied as the people who create them, so departments must be flexible, but thorough, in developing a clear understanding. It is the contract or foundation the project is built on that promotes clarification, preventing misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Clear goals and responsibilities ensure a successful collaboration.
For additional information on working agreements with governments, agencies, and community groups, contact the county’s volunteer coordinator. For more information on developing a memorandum of understanding or an interagency agreement, contact the Marion County Children and Families Commission, 588-7975.
Volunteers serving on boards, commissions, and committees
When volunteers are appointed by the Board of Commissioners to an advisory board, commission or committee, there are procedures that must be observed. These procedures are fully explained in Marion County Administrative Policy B-7.
Applications are available from Business Services and the county volunteer coordinator. A sample is provided in this web page. Please note that a different application is used for volunteers applying to a board or commission. Files are maintained by the county volunteer coordinator on boards, commissions, and committees which require board appointment of members. Additional files are also kept in the Board of Commissioners office.
Departments are encouraged to work in cooperation and in a timely manner with the county’s volunteer coordinator to implement a recruitment, screening, and selection process for vacant positions on boards.
When a volunteer is selected to fill a vacancy on a board or commission, the county’s volunteer coordinator will schedule and present the appointment to the Board of Commissioners for approval. The department will receive a copy of the Order of Appointment after board session. The Board of Commissioners office will send the new appointee a notification letter, a copy of the Order of Appointment, and an orientation manual for volunteers serving on county advisory boards.
New members of a Marion County board, commission, or committee shall receive a copy of the Orientation Manual for Volunteer Members of Advisory Boards. The manual is available from the county’s volunteer coordinator in the Business Services, Human Resources Division.
Youth members may be appointed by the commissioners to serve on advisory boards. For additional information or clarification, contact the county’s volunteer coordinator.