The New Volunteer Manager’s Toolkit
- Organizational culture
- Work vs. job description
- Time commitment
- Communication and style
- Program support and training
- Motivation and philosophy
Your organization must understand each volunteer’s point of view in these things and act accordingly. Maintain a relationship by continuing ongoing communications, and identify and address signs of disengagement. But remember, volunteers have lives, too. You can’t plan for life. Therefore, chances are you will lose some of your volunteers.
How a volunteer wants to be recognized is unique to each volunteer so:
- Ask how they liked to be recognized. Send a survey or questionnaire. What do they like to do, eat, drink, etc.?
- Recognize professional work in meaningful ways — credit, public acknowledgment, etc.
- Don’t underestimate heartfelt, handwritten notes. Best if written personally by a client or staff member.
Evaluating your program
Which program components are you currently using? Which should you be using? Are you thinking about risk and risk management? Evaluate your retention strategies, and ask how your volunteers want to be thanked.
All the pieces in your volunteer engagement program need to protect your program, volunteers, staff, clients and patrons, and organization from all the things that could go wrong, Christian and Bennett said. Volunteer management is about identifying potential and making the perfect match, so be sure to:
- Provide meaningful work for the volunteer
- Create work that’s important to the organization
- Find the right fit
- Make good use of individual skills and talents
- Build and maintain personal relationships
Do that, and you're sure to have a dedicated, happy volunteer base.