Having an idea of what needs to be accomplished and figuring out the starting place is the first step in volunteer recruitment.
I suggest you give some thought to what the needs are that you can address with volunteer resources.
You can use this to measure your progress.
Once you have completed the logic model writing a position description should be relatively easy. You already know how many volunteers you might need and the types of activities they will be doing. Think of the position description as the who, what, where and how. These are all important things to have in place prior to recruiting any volunteer. You can find sample position description forms on our web site at www.volunteerky.ky.gov. Group activity – complete the position description for a volunteer position at your service site. Count off by fives, select one person to report back to group.
We have to be creative about recruiting these days. One of the benefits of having completed the position description and used the logic model to plan is having all the information necessary to launch a recruitment campaign. If you want to do radio spots or newspaper ads you will already have the information written down. If you need to think creatively about what type of person you want to recruit you can start with the qualifications you outlined. Screening applicants – after you have recruited potential volunteers, you will want to do some sort of screening. Screening can include review of written application, face to face interview, reference checking, police record check, FBI screening, etc. This is another step in risk management. Unfortunately we live in a world where we hear more stories about awful things happening. We have a responsibility to protect the people we serve. My suggestion is to follow the agencies screening process for new hires for any volunteer that will be with you long term or who will have any interaction with children or vulnerable populations such as children, people with disabilities or the elderly. This may seem like a lot of work, but these days you can’t be too careful. In thinking about screening you must consider the risk versus the cost. If you have 200 people volunteering to walk in a walk-a-thon you have low risk as opposed to having a one on one mentor with a troubled youth; you would do far less screening for the walk-a-thon participants. If you have any questions about screening I would recommend you talk with the person who does this kind of things for paid staff, usually someone in human resources or the principle of the school.
Orienting and Training are other tools in the risk management tool box. By giving new volunteers this type of information you avoid the “I didn’t know” excuse for mistakes. Orientation covers topics like a volunteers schedule, dress code, what door to use, “clocking” in and out, and information about the culture of the agency. Training is providing volunteers with the skills they need to complete their assignment.
Volunteers need to know who to report to, who to go to when they have questions and who will be evaluating their performance. This should be the same person. This person should be able to tell them details about their task and assist if needed. It does not have to be a paid staff; it could be another volunteer with more experience. Each volunteer should have a time to meet with their supervisor to go over their service and talk about impact, performance, etc. Volunteers need feedback; they want to know how they are fitting into the overall structure of the organization and how their time is helping to accomplish the mission. Appropriate recognition – more on that later
In most non profits we have to justify what we are doing to some funder or “higher up”. We have to be able to provide data about the success of the volunteer program. The volunteer coordinator should be able to answer questions like “what is the profile of the average volunteer, age, race, gender, etc; what exactly do they do, do they perform their tasks successfully and how do you tell, how often are they in contact with the public, what suggestions have been made by volunteers that might be helpful”. It is also a good idea to put a monetary value to the volunteer efforts; this has a tendency to get people’s attention. According to the Independent Sector, an advocacy group for volunteers and community service groups, the estimated value of a volunteer’s time in 2007 was $19.51 an hour. Points of Light web site has a page where you can get a more accurate estimate by putting in the exact work being completed by the volunteer. www.pointsoflight.org,
Get answers from audience. Write on flip chart. Now, think of a time when you felt completely satisfied at the end of a project or effort. This can be real or fantasy. (pause for a few moments). Ask for examples and write them on chart. Not that some of the folks had different things that left them feeling satisfied. This shows that folks have different “measuring sticks” for their success. It is important to find out what a volunteers measuring stick is and use that to motivate them.
Motivators are different from reasons. We are going to break the world down into simple, neat categories and obviously this would be hard in real life. But we can gain an understanding of the concept of the basic motivators by looking at each one separately. I am going to describe the basic motivators and introduce you to a volunteer that has each. We will then work in small groups to develop a sort of “bio” for each volunteer based on their motivator. Your task is to get to know your volunteer and different aspects of his/her life or characteristics and to introduce them to the rest of the group. You must draw as many inferences as you can based on the volunteer’s motivator. One person will need to report to the larger group. Hand out “Finding Clues” for future use.
Praise is one of the most common motivators yet one of the hardest to admit to because of our fear of appearing immodest or dependent on others’ opinions of us. One can tell if one is praise-motivated by checking to see if a compliment, an award, or some other type of approval from another person or persons is what makes one feel successful. Praise motivated people need feedback, need to hear your opinion of how they’re doing, or they cannot feel successful. One should evaluate all volunteers, but it is especially important with praise-motivated people who need feedback to know if their on the right track. Meet Penny, it is important to Penny that she does a good job in others’ eyes.
On the other hand, accomplishment motivated people, while appreciating a compliment, only need their own senses to tell if they are successful. These are people who must have physical evidence of completion to feel successful; a full “out” box, boxes stacked neatly in rows, ten dozen cookies baked, etc. In fact, if your compliment is overly warm and doesn’t match their own assessment of their success, they won’t believe you. These volunteers can only feel effective with projects with tangible results. Meet Andrea, it is important to Andrea that she can see the results of her hard work for herself
Affiliate people identify with a team or group, whether a partner or friend, a family group, a company, school or organization, or even a nation. What matters to them is that their team is successful: they draw their sense of their own success from association with the team. If their college team wins the Bowl game, they themselves fell victorious. These volunteers need to be proud of the organization itself, but also are happiest working within a team setting or with others they respect and like. Hearing their team praised means more to them than individual praise. Meet Albert, it is important to Albert to feel he is part of a team he can be proud of.
This motivator is often called just “power”, but that word has negative connotations of control. While there are controlling volunteers, they are not the majority of individuals with this motivator. Far more simply want to feel their ideas are respected and valued enough to be taken seriously, so we call them influence-motivated. They are unhappy as “cogs in a wheel” – much happier as part of the steering mechanism of the metaphorical vehicle. They want their suggestions and examples to instruct and inspire others to make positive changes, whether it’s putting an at-risk youth on the path to better choices or helping a whole organization get better contacts in a new community. Meet Inez, it is important to Inez to feel her ideas and example will lead other people or groups to make better choices. Now, count off by fours. All the ones, twos, threes and fours get together and use this “Our Volunteer” work sheet to write the short bio for their volunteer. And come up with 5 ideas for appropriate recognition for this volunteer. We will take about 30 minutes for this.
Contact me for information about borrowing a book There are just tons of web sites. I would recommend energize.com and pointsoflight.org
The Basics of Volunteer Management Presented to: SERV Corps November 6, 2009