Why code of conduct matters for your volunteer organization?

The way the harmony lies in commonly-followed rules

In the previous few articles, we discussed important topics related to your volunteer organization, including possible mistakes in recruiting and managing volunteers and how to avoid them, conflicts among volunteers, volunteer administration and volunteer management. All these things are or can be connected with one strong link: a code of conduct.

You might doubt the utility and the effectiveness of a piece of paper or a verbal statement to which each volunteer would hold on, but actually a well-planned and an organized set of rules could be the key element for managing a successful volunteer organization.

Let’s see why a code of conduct should be considered an essential part of your volunteer management work.

The consolidating power of the code of conduct

You can find many definitions for a code of conduct, among which one explains it very well:

“A code of conduct states the rules, values, ethical principles and vision for your business”. Your organization may be non-profit, therefore, don’t let the “business” be a poke in the eye for you. Just focus on the four main particles of the code of conduct:

  • Rules
  • Values
  • Ethical principles
  • Vision

These four elements explain a lot why a code of conduct is so important! Imagine your volunteer organization as a small society. The same would become anarchic if it lacks any of these! Managing volunteers is not an easy task, and as a volunteer coordinator, you should remember that setting rules is a part of your job and you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable when doing that.

When you set clear rules, your volunteers become aware that they have to follow a certain way of conduct. Offering services for free doesn’t mean that they can do what they want or act as they want. In a polite way, make sure your volunteers respect this!

Having a code of conduct is essential because:

  • You will build mutual respect and trust
  • You will show your volunteers that they’re working for a serious organization
  • Your volunteers will be more focused and will have clearer goals
  • Your volunteers will carefully choose their actions
  • Your volunteers will commit to a certain behavior
  • Your volunteers will feel that they can rely on you/the organization
  • You will build a network of responsible and trustworthy volunteers
  • The process of recruiting and managing volunteers will become easier (volunteers ready to accept and respect a code of conduct from the very beginning of an interview will ease you the process of selection)
  • You will have a highly organized volunteer administration (respecting the code of conduct, each volunteer will bring order in the organization with their own accomplished-on-time tasks)
  • The number of conflicts of interest will reduce


The code of conduct will clarify your organization’s mission, values and principles. By setting a group of rules, you will ensure that your volunteers will follow a commonly acknowledged and accepted scheme of conduct.

How would you create your code of conduct? Do you believe that using a volunteer management software could help you in writing the rules?

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