BLOG: KNOWLEDGE SHARE
Knowledge Share #13: Managing Volunteers: Benjamin Franklin had it right!
As with most nonprofit organizations, at Hope House are volunteers are crucial. We could not do what we do without them!
As the Volunteer Coordinator for Hope House, it is my job to recruit, train, manage, and support our volunteers who donate their time and talent at Hope House. I have come to realize that time is the currency of volunteers, which means they want to spend their time in impactful ways.
As a result, I am fervent about my volunteers’ time and adamant that we, as an organization, are respectful of it. Maybe it stems back to my girlhood days watchingGone with the Wind and seeing the placard emblazoned with the words “Do not squander time, it is the stuff that life is made of” swinging gently in the breeze. Whatever the root, I have a core belief that time is not to be wasted!
How then do we go about using our volunteers’ time in the most meaningful way possible? Here are four tips that have worked well at Hope House:
- Have a plan and a purpose. Know what you want the volunteer to do and map it out in detail. Match the skill set of the volunteer to the task needing to be accomplished. Explain the objective and the importance of what they are going to do. Make sure the volunteer understands exactly what you want from them.
- Be prepared before they show up. Plan for the volunteer’s arrival. Have materials together and instructions ready to go. Nothing is worse for a volunteer than showing up when the staff isn’t prepared for them. Taking the time and effort to be organized and ready for your volunteers will go a long way in retaining them. Unfortunately, research shows that if volunteers have a bad experience, they likely won’t volunteer again – ever.
- Show appreciation. A genuine, heartfelt“Thank you” pays big dividends not only for your organization, but in establishing goodwill with the volunteer. Most volunteers, when asked their motivation for donating their time, will say they just want to know that they made a difference. Appreciating their efforts will let them know that they DO make a difference.
- Share stories of the volunteer’s impact with them. Here is a short excerpt from a note I recently received from staff regarding the impact of a volunteer:
“I have an amazing tutor on Thursday nights, Katelyn. First of all, she brings dinner every week for the girls and other tutors, and it is delicious!! But even better than that is the relationship she has formed with Shay while they work together. She loves to ask Katelyn about the similarities and differences between Canada and the US. Katelyn went home to Canada last weekend and remembered to bring back Canadian money and pictures to show her. Shay was so excited and honored that Katelyn had thought of her.”
How do you think our volunteer Katelyn felt when she learned how she had impacted our teen mom?
As a volunteer coordinator, it is your job to use your volunteers in the fullest way by giving them meaningful, engaging, and worthwhile work. This will benefit your organization and will make for happy volunteers who will be coming back time after time.
You can also seek out local sources such as DOVIA (Directors of Volunteers in Agencies) that provide excellent training and resources… tips and strategies from professionals in the field has been instrumental for us as we build a thriving volunteer program.
I think Benjamin Franklin had it right when he said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, it is the stuff that life is made of.”
Let’s not waste our volunteers’ time but honor them and the fact that they are giving us an irreplaceable commodity.
Knowledge Share #8: Breaking Out of Poverty - 08/18/2016
Knowledge Share #7: Creating a Home - 07/11/2016
Knowledge Share #6: The Power of Mindset - 06/14/2016
Knowledge Share #5: College or Bust! - 05/17/2016
Knowledge Share #4:Understanding Addiction - 04/07/2016
Knowledge Share #3:Mentoring Empowers Teen Moms - 03/21/2016
Knowledge Share #2: Healthy Relationships - 02/11/2016
Knowledge Share #1: Brain Development - 01/12/2016
Teen Mom Barrier #8: Communicating the Barriers - 12/16/2015
Teen Mom Barrier #7: Homelessness - 10/09/2015
TEEN MOM BARRIER #6: GENERATIONAL POVERTY - 07/16/2015
Teen Mom Barrier Number #5: Domestic Violence - 06/03/2015
Teen Mom Barrier # 4 The Challenges of College - 05/12/2015
Teen Mom Barrier #2: Childcare - 02/18/2015
Teen Mom Barrier #1: Society's Negative Expectations - 01/26/2015
Teen Mom Misconceptions #5: Success is Impossible - 09/22/2014
Misconception #3: Mentoring Teen Moms is Complicated - 06/05/2014
Because they want someone to love them? - 05/21/2014
Teen Moms - A Persecuted Population? - 04/22/2014
Community - 01/20/2014
8 Pennies - 12/18/2013
"The most courageous young women I know." - 11/14/2013
Our Graduates: In their hands, they hold the future! - 09/30/2013
Measuring the Intangible - 06/15/2013
Grown-Up Mom - 05/01/2013
Misconception #4: Shaming Teen Moms is an Effective Approach
Eva said: I am so proud of Vanessa good friend of mine and mother. [more]