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Maine VolunteerFare

On Track

Published May 6, 2009

In January, we started our journey on the essential volunteer management practices train.  (If you missed previous articles, you can catch up on the Peer 2 Peer forum.)  We seem to be chugging along at a good clip.  Our next schedule of “stops” are: 

11. Volunteer recruitment plan with specific strategies for outreach

12. Standardized screening and matching procedures for determining appropriate placement of volunteers

13. Consistent general orientation for new volunteers

14. Consistent training for new volunteers regarding specific duties and responsibilities

15. Designated supervisors for all volunteer roles

Our previous “stops” helped guide us to the point where we are ready to invite more people to join us on our volunteer train.  Knowing who (and how) to invite is the next crucial step.  If you are like me, most of my strategic planning for recruitment consists of “Who do I know that I can get to do this?”  While this approach does get volunteers through your door, it is not the most efficient method.  Being strategic about who to ask and where to find them nets you better results with less effort. Today’s technology is a double edged sword.  Don’t let it overwhelm you and realize its limitations.  Not everyone is plugged into the Internet.

It seems like we all have more to do than time to do it in, so anything that can save us time and make us more efficient is welcome.  Often the “planning” part gets lost in our rush to meet needs of our clients, coworkers, and jobs.  But it is the important step of planning that can save us time and give us a “bigger bang for the buck” so to speak.

Ensuring that your volunteer program has established procedures around recruitment, selection, training, and supervision of volunteers will save you time and effort in the long term.  And it will make it easier for you to have others to help with your program. 

Yes, it does take time to think things through and write it down.  However, your knowledge of your program, unless your write it down, is lost to the organization when you leave.  Leave them the gift of your expertise...your successor will be eternally grateful.

You may have much of this already written, but it is like a patchwork quilt.  A piece here, a piece there...it just needs to be sewn together.  Having written procedures benefits both volunteers and staff by helping them understand their role in your volunteer program and...pardon the pun...keeping them on track.