question-mark-2405205_640Before you volunteer as a treasurer, a member of the board or in any other capacity, you must understand what the NFP represents and what they want you to do. Volunteer positions can vary dramatically, and each placement comes with its own set of responsibilities and expectations. Without knowing that information, you are literally walking into the office blindfolded.

Without asking questions, you are left in the dark. Being inquisitive about the non-profit or charity is your right. So don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to do so. You need to understand their expectations as much as they need to know yours. They need to know why you wish to volunteer with them and exactly how you would like to make an impact. And vice-versa; you need to know exactly what you will be doing away from the glossy brochures and standard marketing talk.

What exactly is expected of you?

It is imperative you understand your role within the organisation. Even if the position is non-paid, there may be opportunities to claim some expenses. What duties will you be expected to do and how long is your commitment to the organisation. Will they require you to work weekends? Is there a possibility for training or promotion in a particular area?

How is the organisation managed?

It is important to understand the breakdown of any nonprofit. How long has the nonprofit been in operation? Is there a board in place or do you report directly to the founder of the company? Who do you see if you have any issues or questions, particularly when it comes to the rules and regulations and how the organisation is currently being run?

What services are offered to the community?

People volunteer because they want to help. Is this something you could get involved with? Are the community’s immediate needs being met? It is good to know exactly what the nonprofit is doing. That way if you do happen to get asked, you know exactly how to respond. Volunteers are great spokespeople for charities, so the more you understand, the better.

How is the nonprofit’s impact measured?

Claiming that a nonprofit is doing wonderful things is one thing – showing exactly how it is being achieved is another. Who determines the impact? Is anyone evaluating the results? Without any way to measure achievements and no standards in place, it is almost impossible to gauge the impact on the community as a whole.