Idea 19: Keep records. And keep them safe.

It is important to maintain accurate records for each volunteer and for the volunteer program. Harwood (2002) suggests that the following types of information may be included:

Volunteer information:

  • Application forms
  • Reference checks
  • Police records checks
  • Interview results
  • Contract
  • Emergency contact information
  • Training schedule and certificates
  • Hours
  • Appreciation certificates
  • Record of placements
  • Evaluations
  • Volunteer evaluation of program
  • Disciplinary reports (you hope not)
  • Exit date and interview report

Volunteer program records:

  • Promotional material
  • Information package
  • Orientation information
  • Interview checklist
  • Position descriptions
  • Detailed descriptions of specific tasks
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Volunteer Request forms
  • Training schedules and programs
  • Schedules of placement
  • Database of volunteers
  • Statistics on volunteers – numbers, hours, length of service
  • Sign in/out sheets
  • Leave of absence forms
  • Events schedule
  • Evaluation sheets/questionnaires
  • Volunteer recognition and appreciation records
  • Newsletter entries
  • Annual reports on volunteer services

Examine your record keeping to make sure any information or statistics required for funding is collected and stored.

It should be clearly stated in writing how volunteer information will be collected, used and stored. The record keeping should be confidential and conform to your organization’s privacy standard. If your organization doesn’t have a privacy policy, it needs to develop one. Keep records secure and limit access to the records to only those who need the records to do their job.

Voices from the field:

  • Names and contact information, interests and background. It is kept in my home office with no one accessing it except myself.
  • Information kept: basic information, education and work experience, information about matches with learners, and ongoing comments by program manager about the match, monthly tutor/learner reports. Information is kept in a locked filing cabinet.
  • Basic demographic information, police check, references. Kept in locked filing cabinet, as well as on a secure server.
  • We keep tutors’ registration forms, interview forms, end of the course reporting, and their monthly reports all together. These are in a file along-with the file of their current learner. These are kept in a file cabinet in a room which is kept locked at night.
  • The phone numbers and resumes are kept in a back office which is secure.

To learn more:

Graff, L. (1999). Beyond police checks: the definitive volunteer & employee screening guidebook. Dundas, Ont.: Linda Graff & Associates.
» Stresses the purpose and importance of documentation.

Harwood, C. (2002). Literacy volunteer resources. Ottawa, ON: Ottawa-Carleton Coalition for Literacy.
» The first unit of this resource, ‘Managing the volunteer process’, contains information and tools for documenting the intake process and volunteer information. Includes lists of records that an organization may wish to keep for individual volunteers and for the volunteer program as a whole.

Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia. (2004). Guidelines for developing a privacy policy under the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). Retrieved from

Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia. (2012). A guide to B.C.’s Personal Information Protection Act for businesses and organizations. Retrieved from

Last updated: June 28, 2012