Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tips to help your organization be a great place to volunteer

These great tips come from They're definitely worth a read if your organization is gearing up to recruit new volunteers - or retain existing ones.

  • Be prepared - Gather any necessary supplies and clear a workspace in advance of your volunteers' arrival. Once they arrive, don't keep them waiting. If you expect punctuality, lead by example.
  • Make volunteers feel welcome - When you first meet your volunteers, offer a tour of the office or event area, make coffee or water available, and don't be afraid to show your enthusiasm.
  • Introduce volunteers to other staff members - Part of feeling comfortable in a new place means knowing a few names. Casually introduce your volunteers to co-workers and other volunteers before engaging them in their volunteer opportunity.
  • Set expectations - Be clear with your volunteers about what is expected of them. Tell them what you need accomplished and act as a resource should they have questions or concerns.
  • Train sufficiently - Your volunteers are excited to help out. Remember, they found you and want to contribute their time to your organization. Make sure they have the tools necessary to succeed.
  • Give them a purpose - Be realistic when assigning tasks to volunteers. No one wants to stand around because there isn't enough work to be done. If it looks like volunteers are idle, either send a few home, or think of a new project they can work on instead.
  • Be honest - Don't be afraid to tell your volunteers exactly what your organization needs.
  • Create ground rules - Volunteers are eager to help, and while they aren't actual employees, they may still need to adhere to general organizational policies. Make sure you relate any important rules or guidelines before your volunteers get started.
  • Set time parameters for service - Most people have a busy schedule and volunteers are no exception. Let your volunteers know how long their help will be needed so they can plan their day accordingly.
  • Show appreciation - Congratulate your volunteers on a job well done. Sometimes a simple gesture of thanks is sufficient. For volunteers who contribute their time consistently or have made a strong impact on your organization, consider giving them a card or taking them out to lunch.

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