Preventing a disaster within a disaster: The effective use and management of unaffiliated volunteers

This document can also be found on the Official website of The Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network at

When disaster strikes, emergency management and voluntary agencies automatically mobilize. Each has a specific role to help ensure a community’s successful response to and recovery from the disaster’s devastation. Yet, one element within the present system continues to challenge this process: Spontaneous, unaffiliated volunteers, but usually lack the training to help them be effective in these roles. There are many challenges to realizing the vision for more effective and appropriate involvement of unaffiliated volunteers in all phases of disaster. This document includes recommendations for addressing those challenges in an Issue/Discussion/Recommendations approach, which follows the format most often used within the emergency management community.

This resource is part of a Collection of similar guidelines entitled "Supporting and managing volunteers during emergencies." Collections are monitored daily and new content is added.