Document Your Partnership in Writing

Skills-based volunteer relationships are distinct from relationships with traditional, hands-on volunteers or donors. To effectively accomplish your capacity-building goals, you will need to invite your skilled volunteers “behind the curtain” to observe, assess, and sometimes critique and evolve your core operations. This process requires structure, strategy and, most importantly, trust.

Before beginning a skilled volunteer engagement, we recommend formalizing your partnership with a written agreement. Treating your skilled volunteer as you would a paid consultant will bring a professionalism to the experience and clarify expectations for both parties.

Documentation may range from a formal Statement of Work that resembles a legal agreement to a more informal sign-off on a project description. Regardless of format, it is important that it includes the following elements:

  • The goals of the partnership and a clear articulation of the final deliverable your volunteer will create
  • The length of the project and a formal process for exiting or extending the partnership if need be
  • The roles your team and the volunteer will respectively play
  • A signature field for both you and your volunteer(s)