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Animal Welfare Organization Volunteering


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For Animal Shelters and Rescues: Increasing your use of Volunteers

For Animal Shelters and Rescues: Increasing your use of Volunteers

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  • 1. Increasing Your Use of Volunteers Step-by-step tips and tools.
  • 2. Create structure and supervision for a successful volunteer program & build it one step at a time. “ Establish a budget for the volunteer program that reflects the real costs associated with its operation.. … including items such as copying and printing, advertising, events, recognition and appreciation, technology tools like databases or websites for recruiting, and ongoing training for the volunteer manager. The return on investment in terms of hours of service and quality of care for the animals, as well as the benefits to the public, will be well worth the effort, and most volunteer programs really can be run on a relatively small budget.” – Megan Webb Community outreach program director Oakland Animal Services, California
  • 3. What are your needs?
    • Involve your group’s current staff/officers
    • Select a Volunteer Manager or Coordinator
    • Write volunteer job descriptions
    • Multi-level approach to volunteer training and positions
    • Separation from staff/officers roles and volunteer roles
    • Set budget
  • 4. Screening & Expectations
    • Interview volunteers, choose those that are the best fit
    • Explain minimum time commitments & scheduling
    • Provide volunteer ‘job’ descriptions to match skills to positions
    • Ask volunteers complete Skills Checklist of knowledge & physical requirements Sample checklist chart at
  • 5. Orientation
    • introduce staff, current volunteers
    • review your programs, policies/rules, history, mission, and goals
    • distribute volunteer handbook – can be projected and then emailed to avoid printing costs
    • give a tour
    *This can all be done online for online volunteers too!
  • 6. Training
    • Schedule specific or group training sessions
    • Cover the 3 types of learners: hear, read, hands-on
    • AFTER training, volunteers are given their assignments – not all volunteers will be matched for there area of interest
    • Necessary liability releases
    • Volunteers under 18?
  • 7. Communication
    • Keep volunteers informed
    • Volunteer Manager should have available voicemail and email
    • Positive word of mouth will expand all your programs
    • Encourage volunteer feedback for ideas, growth & change
  • 8. Top Level Volunteers
    • How many people can 1 person manage - 10? 20?
    • Create a Top Level team of your experienced, people-oriented volunteers
    • Invite them to lead & organize volunteer training, orientations, events
  • 9. Recognition
    • Recognize and reward good volunteers
    • If you can’t afford to buy your regular volunteers t-shirts, offer logo/volunteer-branded t-shirts for volunteers to purchase through or
    • Keep it simple – a handwritten note, a handshake, a personal thank you email
    • Contact volunteers that don’t show up for a shift
  • 10. Using the . Volunteer Tool Connect with local volunteers who’ve registered to help you
  • 11. Volunteer Tool
  • 12. Search 1
  • 13. Search 2
  • 14. V search results
  • 15. Mouse over volunteer name
  • 16. Top of volnteer detail
  • 17. Bottom of volunteer detail
  • 18.  
  • 19.  
  • 20.  
  • 21. Three National Animal Welfare Volunteer Studies
    • #1
    • by Steven G. Rogelberg, PhD, Univ of North Carolina Charlotte & Betsy McFarland, HSUS
      • - Surveyed 270 animal welfare employees
      • - 80.6% worked 30 hours a week or more (i.e. fulltime employees).
  • 22. Q: What practices do you think are important for creating positive experiences with and retaining volunteers?
  • 23.  
  • 24. Study #2: Stickiness (volunteer retention practices)
    • By Adrian Goh and Steven Rogelberg
        • Surveyed 72 Volunteer Managers
        • Surveyed 4139 volunteers
        • On average, the surveyed shelters had
          • 226 Volunteers
          • 27 Full time employees
          • 7 Part time employees
  • 25. 19 Stickiness Practices
        • 1. Provides volunteers with the tools and supplies needed to do their volunteer service. (70.4%)
        • 2. Allows volunteers to use services provided by the organization for free or at a highly discounted rate. (33.8%)
        • 3. Has defined policies for dealing with conflict and concerns between staff and volunteers (e.g. writing up staff and volunteers for inappropriate behavior). (21.1%)
        • 4. Provides an anonymous way (e.g., suggestion/concern box) of addressing problems that volunteers are too uncomfortable to bring to the attention of staff directly. (18.3%)
        • 5. Organization has calendars showing staff when they will have volunteers in their area. (35.2%)
  • 26.
        • 6. Organization formally advertises a need for volunteers to the general public (e.g. flyers, ads in the paper, etc.). (56.3%)
        • 7. Impromptu orientations (i.e. tour of the organization and brief discussion of essential policies) for volunteers who are eager to start volunteering before the formal orientation meeting. (39.4%)
        • 8. A regularly updated calendar that volunteers can access so they know when they are needed and can sign up for those times. (42.9%)
        • 9. Contact volunteers when they do not make their scheduled volunteer appointment. (27.1%)
  • 27.
        • 10. Supervisors identify specific volunteer job assignments that can be completed in 2-3 hour blocks of time. (38.6%)
        • 11. Regularly meet with employees to encourage them to thank volunteers for good work. (24.3%)
        • 12. Regularly survey volunteers on level of satisfaction, quality of experiences, desire to continue volunteering, level of stress related to volunteering. (12.7%)
        • 13. Regularly survey employees concerning their relationships with volunteers, the volunteer program, and related issues. (13.2%)
        • 14. Formal interviews before accepting potential volunteers. (18.3%)
        • 15. Social events for volunteers to reward their efforts. (63.4%)
  • 28. Thank you! Jennifer Warner Director of Shelter Outreach [email_address] RESOURCES and VIRTUAL HELP Service Leader (Virtual Volunteering Guide Book): Association for Volunteer Administrators: CompuMentor: (nonprofit technology portal) Cyber Speaker: Energize Inc.: (general VPM resource) Net Aid: TechSoup: (nonprofit technology portal) Volunteer Today: (VPM monthly e-gazette) Netiquette: Free downloadable book: pdf pdf