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Maine VolunteerFare

Back on the Volunteer Management Track

Published December 10, 2009

It’s been a while seen we updated our journey on the volunteer management train.  (If you missed previous articles about essential volunteer management practices, you can read them in VolunteerFare archives.)  Fortunately like the tracks the keep the train heading in the right path, sometimes its sheer momentum that keep our volunteer programs moving.  However just like that train, even though we are on track and making all of our stops on time, regular maintenance is needed to keep things running smoothly.

Now that we are all back on the train, let’s look at our next “stops:”

16.  Periodic assessments of volunteer performance
17.  Periodic assessments of staff support for volunteers
18.  Consistent activities for recognizing volunteer contributions
19.  Consistent activities for recognizing staff support for volunteers

Why would you want, even need, to assess volunteer performance? Providing a volunteer with a regular performance review is an opportunity to review their position description, discuss their skills & interests in relationship to the position description, and renew their commitment to serve your organization.  It may be a time to negotiate a new assignment involving more or less responsibility.  It can also provide an opportunity for the volunteer to provide feedback on the program. 

Evaluating staff on how they work with and support volunteers emphasizes the role volunteers have as a crucial part of the organization’s team. In my experience, performance evaluations always addressed, in some way, my working relationships with other employees and ability as a supervisor.  It is not only the volunteer manager who works with volunteers, so this should be part of all paid staff evaluations.

Being appreciated for the work we do is something we can all relate to.  Whether you are paid or unpaid, a “thank you” can make you feel good.  Not all of us need big showy acknowledgement of our efforts, a hand written note or verbal thank you is enough.  For others, we do like those social gatherings called “volunteer recognition events.”  Don’t forget to include the staff who work with volunteers in your recognition efforts!

Remember those performance evaluations?  It can be an opportunity to recognize volunteers for the quality service they provide to your organization and to acknowledge staff for effectively supporting volunteers.