6 Power Steps to Managing Volunteers That Every Volunteer Coordinator Should Know

I want you to imagine that these 6 stages are set up in a circle. Although volunteer management does not have a start and endpoint they are linked and is an ongoing process.

Now let's have a look at each stage individually;

Stage 1 - Recruitment

Recruitment is the process of attracting new volunteers to your organization. So, when you approach a potential volunteer, it is important to promote your organization as an an exciting and positive organization to be involved with!

Here are some strategies to source volunteers and how to recruit them.

Produce volunteer information kits This should include position descriptions for each volunteer role. People are very aware of committing to a position if they don't fully understand what is required in regards to skills and time. Would you take a paid job if you didn't know what it involved and how many hours were required? Of course not!!!!! Then why would we expect volunteers to do it?
Check past and present membership lists for potential volunteers.
Ask members for their occupation on your membership form to identify skills that may be suitable to a volunteer position (e.g. if a member has indicated that his/her occupation is a registrar, you may be able to approach
them as a potential Secretary or Treasurer).

Provide new members with information about ways they can get involved with your organization as a volunteer (include in membership information).
Use the local community newspaper

- Place a classified advertisement, letter to the editor or feature article.
- Avoid simply saying - "We need volunteers" indicate the type of roles that need to be fulfilled and the great benefits of being involved in your organization.

Produce posters, pamphlets or flyers that promote the organization and the types of things volunteers can do - distribute where potential volunteers may visit. I am also betting that there is a person in your organization that could produce very professional looking materials. You never know until you ask.
Organize community notices on the radio.
Ask private companies to include volunteering in pre-retirement training sessions.

Promote your organization's volunteering opportunities to schools, TAFE and universities.
Advertise volunteering opportunities through corporations, businesses, and sponsors.

Offer young members the opportunity to take on the role of apprentice volunteers. Use existing and experienced volunteers as mentors.
Promote your organization and volunteer roles at local retirement villages and organizations.
Advertise for volunteers on your organization's website.
Offer volunteers the opportunity to "job share" their volunteer role with a friend or partner.
Try the personal approach... simply ASK! Do not underestimate this powerful strategy. Approaching people in a professional way dramatically increases your chances of getting people to say yes to your request.

STAGE 2 - SELECTION AND SCREENING

For many volunteer organizations, it is rare to have more volunteers than positions. So, they may have little experience in having to choose the right person for a volunteer position. But you still need to have screening processes in place to ensure that volunteers are suitable for the positions they fulfill. There are many ways to select and screen potential volunteers. You might like to consider a combination of the following;

Position descriptions
Application forms
Interviews
Referee checks
National Police Clearance or National Police Check
Working with children checks
Declaration forms and
Code of Conduct forms

With all the formalities out of the way, why not just ask them the reason they are volunteering and what they would like out of it. This will give you some great information in regards to what you can do to make the volunteering experience the best possible. Imagine how welcome the volunteer will feel if you ask this question.

ORIENTATION

The best (and one of the easiest) ways to help someone to feel part of the team is to show them around the organization. Providing an orientation program for new volunteers will help them to settle in a little faster. The more
the effort you put in at the start to ensure your volunteer workforce feels well-informed and valued, the less work it will be in the long run.

Orientation can take place in a number of ways. You may like to try one or more of the following:

Information or orientation kits
Video and PowerPoint presentations
Group or individual orientations and
Hand-over with the previous volunteer.
A welcome function that involves new and old volunteers.

During the orientation, make sure you cover the following:

Any rules and procedures
Volunteer policies and procedures
Financial procedures
Occupational health and safety issues
The position description for the volunteer role
Facilities (e.g. parking, kitchen, toilet)
Introduce them to other volunteers and committee members in your organization
Highlight a person that the volunteer can go to for assistance if required
Anything else that will help the volunteers to feel comfortable starting in their role

TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT

Training and development is a vital part of a good volunteer management program. Volunteers who are offered some form of training (formal or informal) are more confident, comfortable and efficient in their role, and everyone benefits. It is also good risk management.

There are several different ways that you can train your volunteers:

Pre-placement Training

This should cover the skills needed to commence the volunteer duties. For example, a sports trainer shouldn't begin duties until he or she has completed a first aid or sports trainer's course.