Tag Archives: #managing volunteers

How to evaluate your volunteer strategy.

Volunteers rescuing endangered animals

Consider the following questions when evaluating your use of volunteers:

  • What tasks are performed by volunteers?
  • Is there a coordinator to whom all volunteers report and who assumes full responsibility for them?
  • Are the goals, purposes and policies of the volunteer program stated in writing (e.g job descriptions)?
  • Is the volunteer program regularly planned,organized and revised with participation from the Board,staff,user and community groups,as necessary?
  • Are volunteers given a formal introduction to the organization as well as to their own roles to volunteers?
  • On the basis of what criteria are volunteers recruited and placed?
  • What training is provided to volunteers?
  • Does the organization maintain records on each volunteer?
  • What expense does the organization cover for volunteers (e.g transportation, child care)?
  • Are volunteers given individual performance evaluations?By whom?, When?
  • Do volunteers receive clerical support?Are work space and equipment allotted to them?

Critical areas to look into:

  • How good is your organization’s recruitment process?
  • Do you know if people are doing the jobs best suited to their skills?
  • How can the way you manage your people resource be improved?

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How to recruit volunteers for your organization

There is an ever increasing need for volunteers to assist within organizations. However at the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find volunteers due to pressures of time and income.This means that volunteers need to be managed as effectively as paid staff. Although volunteers are a relatively inexpensive resource,they do create some costs for the organization.

Volunteers at work

Reasons why people volunteer -some of the reasons people volunteer include:

  • Service to others-to put something back to society.
  • To gain work experience
  • Family involvement
  • Social reasons
  • Prestige and
  • To influence policy

You need to recognize these motives, consider them in light of the program requirements and place the volunteer in a situation that is beneficial to both the individual and the program.It is important that volunteers are asked why they participate in order to help determine how well their needs are being met.

consider your volunteer requirements on a regular basis taking into consideration what needs to be done in your organization.To do these it might be helpful to classify volunteers into three categories:

  • Administrative leadership- Volunteers recruited for this role should have skills to serve as executive board members, secretaries,treasurer’s or as committee members.
  • Technical leadership-volunteers must possess real knowledge and skills in the technical field that they are volunteering in.
  • Non-leadership services-There is always a need for volunteers in a non-leadership capacity.Volunteers who could fill these roles are those who do not have technical qualifications or the time for prolonged commitment.

Try to much your volunteers with the specific requirements of the work to be done.Some criteria to consider are:

  • Short term vs. long term-How long do you need your volunteers to commit for?
  • Intense vs.relaxed-Does the job allow the individual to work at a leisurely pace or does it involve tough decisions,tight deadlines or constant attention?
  • Responsible vs.non-responsible -Does the job require an individual who will be highly accountable or responsible for programs or does it involve little accountability?

No matter how you plan to use volunteers,they should all understand and promote the objectives of the program.This will involve specific effort on your part to communicate the program’s objectives before a volunteer commits to it.

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