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Volunteer Engagement: First Steps for New Leaders

So you're a new volunteer manager...Now what? Let's dive into the field, review key resources, & identify elements of successful programs. How can you make changes, conquer unexpected challenges, & creatively engage & recognize volunteers?

Kerrie Keller

on 10 October 2014

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Transcript of Volunteer Engagement: First Steps for New Leaders

First Steps for New Leaders
Volunteer Engagement
From Volunteer -->Volunteer Manager
How did you get here?

How can you draw on your own past experiences in this new role?

Local Networks
(PAVA) Portland Area Volunteer Administrators
DOVIA: York County Directors of Volunteers in Agencies
VAMM: Volunteer Administrators of Midcoast Maine
Hancock County Volunteer Program Staff
Franklin Volunteer Network
EMVC: Eastern Maine Volunteer Coordinators
AVA: Androscoggin Volunteer Administrators
(22 Essential Practices & Beyond)
Elements of Successful Programs
Questions to Ask...
Your Current Program

-Volunteer Handbook
-Volunteer Orientation,
Volunteer Training,
& Supervision of Volunteers
-Volunteer Opportunity Descriptions
-Volunteer Recognition Activities
-Volunteer Recruitment Strategies
-Volunteer Feedback Opportunities
about your volunteer program
-Standardized Intake & Screening Process
-Volunteer Time Tracking System
Ideally, volunteers are used in accordance with the organization's mission and assessment of need. The organization offers a variety of ways for people to volunteer and make an impact. The strongest volunteer programs have staff buy-in and support and are able to grow and change over time.
What are your favorite resources?
Is your volunteer application process efficient & effective?
Do you offer a wide variety of ways for people to volunteer?
-ongoing opportunities?
-one-time/special events?
-opportunities for skilled volunteers?
-virtual opportunities?
-opportunities for groups? families?
-behind the scenes/capacity building opportunities?
-direct service opportunities?
Do you have specific written position descriptions
for each ongoing volunteer opportunity?

Do they clearly explain the positions' responsibilities and the levels of commitment that you desire?
Are staff encouraged to consider new ways that people might volunteer with your organization?
What is the maximum number of volunteers that your organization can truly support?
Where do you typically recruit & find volunteers?

Are there other places to do so?
Does necessary screening occur on your volunteer applicants?
-Background checks
-DHHS checks
-Driving record checks
Do you have an agency orientation to welcome your volunteers to the organization and highlight key policies & procedures?

Do you offer volunteers additional training specific to their positions?
What is the perception of volunteers within your organization?

Are staff members excited or reluctant to have them?

How could you better support staff who directly supervise volunteers?

Do they need any training?
How are you currently tracking and recording volunteer time?
How frequently do you recognize volunteers?

Is it a one-size fits all approach or more tailored to specific individuals?

How can you get creative to show your appreciation?
Have you asked volunteers for specific feedback about their experiences with your organization?
-annual volunteer surveys
-exit surveys
-informal conversations
Do you evaluate your volunteers after a specific amount of time?
Do you share the positive impact of your volunteers' efforts with staff members and the greater community?

Have you used social media to do so?
... small
-Risk Management Strategies
for Volunteer Activities
Scenario 1:
Staff don't buy it...
You've just finished creating new standard volunteer forms and streamlining the in-take process. You send out a mass email explaining the new materials to all staff, but no one responds and changes don't get adopted. What now?
Scenario 2:
Warming up to cold calls from wannabe volunteers...
Scenario 3:
Help! Another school group or company wants to do their service day with your organization... next week! (or 6 months from now!)

What's your plan?
Coordinating Groups of Volunteers
"Catholic Charities Maine, Volunteer Services, this is Kerrie, how may I help you?"

"I'm calling about volunteering."

"Great, how would you like to get involved? Which one of our programs appeals to you?"

"I'm not sure, I just need to volunteer."

"Okay, _______________________________________________"
Scenario 4:
Change is happening at a glacial pace...
You've updated the volunteer handbook, designed a new website page, and created new forms for the volunteer intake process! Hooray! So how come you're still receiving the 1996 version of your volunteer application?

You want to scream...but instead, you ______________!
Scenario 5:
National Volunteer Week is right around the corner, and you have ZERO budget for volunteer recognition but still want to show your volunteers some special appreciation. What do you do?
No funds...no fun?
Scenario 6:
Anybody? Anybody?
No one has responded to your posting about needing a Nap Time Monitor volunteer....for over a year. How can you rev up recruitment and fill this role?
What do you say next? How can you best guide the volunteer who doesn't know how they want to get involved?
Questions, Comments,
& First Action Steps

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