Standards for Military Family Readiness programs

2020 Edition

Volunteer Coordination (MIL-VC) 4: Volunteer Training and Supervision

Volunteers receive the necessary orientation, training, and supervision to effectively fulfill their responsibilities.


Training and supervision will vary given the duties being performed by the volunteer and the length of the assignment. Gratuitous volunteers at a one-time event will not require the same depth of training and supervision as statutory volunteers providing ongoing services.

2020 Edition




Volunteer Coordination programs promote volunteer recruitment and retention and support achievement of the program’s mission.
Note: Some aspects of volunteer training and supervision may be provided by the program in which the volunteer is placed. 

Research on volunteer retention suggests that effective training and quality supervision are critical to retaining volunteers. Volunteers who feel prepared to fulfill their role are more likely to stay involved over time. 

Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the programs’ practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality and/or overall performance.
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance 
A rating of (2) indicates that a programs’ infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. The majority of the standard's requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  Minor inconsistencies and practices that are not fully developed are noted, however, these do not significantly impact service quality and/or overall performance.
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that significant aspects of the programs’ observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement. The program has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework. Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  Service quality or program functioning may be compromised. Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation and Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all. Observed infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.

Please see Rating Guidance for additional rating examples. 
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Orientation and training curricula for volunteers (MIL-VC 4.01, MIL-VC 4.02)
  • Documentation tracking volunteer completion of applicable trainings (MIL-VC 4.01, MIL-VC 4.02)
  • Job descriptions for volunteer supervisors (MIL-VC 4.03, MIL-VC 4.04)
  • Documentation of supervision or supervision logs, when available (MIL-VC 4.03)
  • Training curricula for other information provided to volunteer supervisors (MIL-VC 4.04)
  • 1 or 2 advocacy efforts made on behalf of volunteers or the volunteer coordination program (MIL-VC 4.05)
  • Documentation of feedback provided to volunteers, when applicable (MIL-VC 4.06)

MIL-VC 4.01

Statutory volunteers, and gratuitous when appropriate, participate in an orientation that includes:

  1. how volunteer work contributes to achievement of the receiving program’s mission;
  2. how volunteer work benefits Service members and their families;
  3. volunteer rights and responsibilities;
  4. available training and professional development opportunities; and
  5. policies and procedures that relate to the volunteer assignment, including those pertaining to reimbursement.
Volunteers who view themselves as engaged in meaningful, mission-driven activities are more likely to feel satisfied and fulfilled by their volunteer experience.

MIL-VC 4.02

Statutory volunteers, and gratuitous when appropriate, participate in training specific to their volunteer assignment, including:

  1. details of their assignment including boundaries and expectations;
  2. potential liabilities or risks associated with their assignment;
  3. information on available supports and resources, including their primary point-of contact for the assignment; and
  4. benchmarks and due dates, as applicable.

MIL-VC 4.03

Statutory volunteers receive regular support and supervision that:

  1. is appropriate to the complexity of the assignment and unique needs of the volunteer;
  2. includes assistance with project coordination and planning;
  3. provides a forum for the volunteer to express challenges and concerns; and
  4. focuses on the development and growth of volunteers in addition to the completion of identified tasks.
Related Standards:
Burnout from work-related stress can be an issue for volunteers and the literature identifies personal and professional support as key to reducing this risk, particularly among volunteers who may be supporting individuals with a history of trauma.

MIL-VC 4.04

Volunteer supervisors have been informed of:

  1. their supervisory responsibilities; and
  2. who to contact at the volunteer coordination program should issues arise. 


Volunteer supervisors may have different titles including volunteer manager, volunteer coordinator, or volunteer liaison. Regardless of the terminology used, the supervisor is the individual providing direct oversight and support to the volunteer in the receiving program.

MIL-VC 4.05

Volunteer supervisors advocate for the needs of volunteers or the volunteer coordination program among leadership. 

MIL-VC 4.06

The volunteer coordination program ensures all statutory volunteers receive regular feedback that is:

  1. designed to enhance performance; 
  2. constructive and motivating; and
  3. appropriate to the complexity and intensity of the assignment and the preferences of the volunteer.