Managing staff and volunteers

The management committee/board needs to understand the distinction between employees and volunteers and ensure that good practice in the recruitment and management of both staff and volunteers is in place.

(Supporting principle to Principle 2 of The Code of Good Governance)

Whether your organisation is run solely by volunteers or has paid staff (or a combination of both), the Management Committee is responsible for ensuring that systems and structures are in place to provide effective management and support. Good people management helps to contribute to the organisation's overall effectiveness and its ability to achieve its objectives.


Your Management Committee members are also volunteers for the organisation who require support and training in order to carry out their role effectively.

The Management Committee is also responsible for ensuring that the organisation's policies and practices are compliant with relevant legislation, are kept up to date and that its employment practices are at an acceptable standard.

Where a voluntary organisation employs paid staff, the Management Committee is ultimately the employer. This of course brings additional responsibilities both legally and practically in terms of managing staff. The Management Committee do not usually directly line manage all staff or volunteers. However, they do need to ensure that:

  • Appropriate policies and procedures for managing staff and volunteers are in place;
  • Sufficient resources are provided to train and develop staff and volunteers to carry out their responsibilities; and
  • Staff and volunteers are properly supervised and account regularly for their work.

This section introduces some of the basics around managing paid staff and volunteers. However, expert information and advice on these issues is widely available. We have therefore focused on signposting to the best of existing sources of information and advice, both within the voluntary and community sector and beyond.