Volunteer Friendly

The Volunteer Friendly Award is a user-friendly quality standard to support, recognise and reward groups who are good at involving volunteers. 

Many essential services in Scotland’s communities are enhanced by volunteers. The Scottish Government recognises that volunteering matters and it’s all about new experiences, feeling good and making a difference.
It’s never been more important for groups to be able to show how good they are at involving and managing their volunteers. We believe regardless of your group or organisation size or set up you should be rewarded and recognised for the difference your volunteer programme makes.

The Volunteer Friendly Award was redeveloped in 2021 by Volunteer Scotland and the TSI Scotland Network. The standard, process and offer have been refreshed and achievable requirements set for each level of your volunteer programme. The new process allows more groups to engage with the Volunteer Friendly Award and be recognised for the work they do.

The Volunteer Friendly Standard document details the 5 strands of the standard in more detail, providing guidance and example evidence on how you might meet each strand and practice. View the 5 strands below and download the standard. 


  • It’s volunteer focused to ensure all volunteers have a great experience
  • It sets an achievable level for all volunteer programmes
  • It highlights and demonstrates good practice in volunteer management
  • It shows commitment and value to volunteers
  • It’s a supportive development opportunity
  • Plus much more!

The 5 Strands

Involving Volunteers

Understanding why your group/organisation involves volunteers

  • All people involved in the group/organisation understand why they involve volunteers.
  • The group/organisation has a written document setting out how volunteers will be involved, supported and protected.
  • The group/organisation has or includes volunteers in policies that relate to management and involvement of people.
  • The group/organisation is committed to developing a Volunteer Culture.

Making Volunteering Happen​

Money, management, resources and keeping volunteers safe.

  • The group/organisation has a named person or team who has responsibility for recruiting and managing volunteers.
  • The group/organisation plans for volunteering involvement, where volunteers can be part of planning and setting objectives.​
  • The group/organisation seeks to secure enough funds to provide volunteers with appropriate resources to undertake their volunteering and cover out-of-pocket expenses.​
  • The group/organisation is committed to keeping volunteers safe from risk, comply with data protection and are covered by appropriate insurance.​

Volunteer Inclusion

Equal access to opportunities and fair recruitment

  • The group/organisation creates an environment that is inclusive; open to involving volunteers from all backgrounds and abilities.
  • The group/organisation is consistent and fair in carrying out recruitment, reference checks, disclosures and selection of volunteers.​
  • The group/organisation is committed to supporting everyone into volunteering, providing a range of opportunities, flexibility roles and aims to meet additional support needs

Welcoming Volunteers

Developing roles, induction, training and support needs for volunteers.

  • The group/organisation develops a range of volunteer opportunities that are fair, provide a choice to volunteers, benefiting both volunteers and service users.​
  • The group/organisation provides all volunteers with an induction to their role, including all policies, procedures and training required for the role.​
  • The group/organisation offers ongoing support to volunteers throughout their volunteer journey and aims to offer additional support when required to meet the needs of the volunteer.​
  • The group/organisation provides volunteers with ongoing relevant updates, where volunteers can provide feedback on their involvement.

Valuing Volunteers

Recognition for volunteers’ time, contribution, feedback and creating positive endings.

  • All people involved in the group/ organisation are aware of the need to give volunteers recognition for their time and contribution.
  • The group/organisation can demonstrate how they report on and celebrate volunteering.
  • The group/organisation supports their volunteers’ development, providing opportunities

You can find more information on the Volunteer Friendly website.

Related resources

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