7 Tips for a Great Volunteer Experience
Don't agree to volunteers who can only come once unless you have a huge project. It takes time to get a volunteer trained and working, and that time is wasted if the volunteer can only work a few hours and doesn't plan to return.
Prepare volunteers for the job
Make sure your volunteers are prepared for the job they agreed to. Be honest with volunteers about time commitments. Let them know how long they'll need to be prepared to work. (We all like to know when quitting time is, right?) In addition, let them know what they should wear (business attire, jeans and sneakers?). Should they bring lunch? Where should they park? Give them as much information as you can so they'll know what to expect on the first day.
Be prepared to spend time with volunteers
Be prepared to spend time with volunteers to orient them on their first day. If the job contains multiple tasks, give volunteers written directions. Spending time with volunteers to get them acclimated to your facility and helping them feel comfortable with their jobs will help ensure happy and satisfied volunteers down the line. They are giving their time just as donors give their money, so make them feel wanted and needed. It will pay off for you. Don't just throw volunteers in and expect them to figure it out. Do what it takes to orient them so they can be successful in their roles.
Prepare your staff for volunteers
Let other staff members know when volunteers are coming and what they will be doing. Encourage staff to welcome volunteers and make them feel at home. Be sure to make introductions to the entire staff on a volunteer's first day.
Help volunteers feel comfortable
Help volunteers feel comfortable on their first day by showing them where they can find the restroom, fix a cup of coffee, etc. Make sure you let them know who to ask if they have questions. The goal is to help them feel comfortable in your organization, not like outsiders.