Volunteer Management Presented by Jonathan Poisner For the State Environment Leadership Program October 2011
A BOUT J ONATHAN P OISNER S TRATEGIC C ONSULTING Services: Strategic and Campaign Planning Facilitation Coalition Development Fundraising Communications Organizational Development Executive Transitions Executive Coaching
M Y EXPERIENCE WITH VOLUNTEERS Before I became an Executive Director, I was a grassroots organizer for the Sierra Club. When I became Executive Director at the Oregon League of Conservation Voters in 1997, we had maybe 50 volunteers, counting the board and others. By 2008, we had more than 1000 volunteers do some activity for OLCV in the calendar year. This took a sustained commitment to a volunteer program and we learned some things along the way that I’ll be sharing in this webinar.
W HAT WE ’ RE GOING TO COVER Why Volunteers Recruiting Volunteers Managing Volunteers
W HY DO YOU WANT VOLUNTEERS ? Important to know why since can influence what type of program you set up. Two important questions: What do you most want out of your volunteers? What level of volunteer do you need?
W HAT DO YOU M OST WANT OUT OF YOUR V OLUNTEERS My top potential reasons: To do the work staff just can’t get around to doing (either back-end or programmatic) 62.8 million adults volunteering almost 8.1 billion hours in local and national organizations in 2010, Source: VolunteeringinAmerica.gov. To be authentic voices As sources of local knowledge As sources of specialized expertise
W HAT LEVEL VOLUNTEER DO YOU NEED ? Level 1: Participants Level 2: Activity Leaders Level 3: Organizational Leaders
R ECRUITING VOLUNTEERS Trends in volunteerism Why people volunteer Where to find potential volunteers Techniques for recruitment
T RENDS IN V OLUNTEERISM Participant volunteerism is up Organizational volunteerism is down Internships are up Bookmark interns as a special class of volunteers and talk about it at the end of the webinar Source: volunteeringinamerica.gov
W HY PEOPLE VOLUNTEER Concern about the issue Ideological or More directly personal Social connection Learn a skill/network (technical or leadership) Personal connection to a staff member/other volunteer
W HERE DO YOU FIND POTENTIAL VOLUNTEERS ? People you meet and know List of supporters and donors Volunteer lists from allied or partner organizations or political campaigns Tabling or clip boarding at local community events or college campuses Online volunteer/community announcement web sites and email lists. Via partnerships (e.g. with a church social justice committee).
R ECRUITING PARTICIPANTS Personal asks are the #1 key. Supplement personal asks with online asks that stress social benefits combined with urgency. The online is often priming the personal ask Or getting people at the right moment. Be specific. Potential volunteers respond better to being asked to do a specific task at a specific time for a specific purpose than a general “can you volunteer.” Role play – have a script and practice it, but sound authentic.
R ECRUITING PARTICIPANTS continued Thank them right away – express gratitude. Ensure they understand what they need to. They should be able to answer the questions: What am I going to be doing? Where will I be doing it? When do I need to be there? How long will I be doing it for? Turn participants into recruiters – always ask them if they have two other friends who they can bring along. Do reminders. Day before at least an email. Better yet are reminder calls – which can also be a volunteer task. Plan for a flake factor – of up to half for large-scale volunteer activities, even with reminders.
R ECRUITING ACTIVITY LEADERS Personal asks from participants who show promise, preferably in-person Personal asks of those with specialized skills to be activity leaders. What happens in a leadership volunteer recruitment meeting Form a personal relationship. Find out the why Set clear expectations
R ECRUITINGORGANIZATIONAL LEADERS Definitely in-person meetings Even more detail on the expectations More of a mutual decision than pure recruitment Don’t limit this to just board members – think about whether there are other long-term organizational roles for which a leader can be recruited.
M ANAGING VOLUNTEERS Why do volunteers stay Best practices for managing volunteers Designing your volunteer program Systems that make volunteer management easier
W HY DO VOLUNTEERS STAY ?Statistics show around 1/3 of all volunteers stop volunteering for a specific group in the following year.Top two reasons people continue: They like you. They are getting what they most want out of the volunteering.
B EST PRACTICES FOR VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT Recognition/Thanks Training Match to correct organizational activity Culture that welcomes new volunteers Allocate resources to support them Solicit their input sincerely Create opportunities for social networking
D ESIGNING YOUR P ROGRAM Don’t underestimate the staff time necessary Create a volunteer recruitment/management plan. Don’t do this ad hoc. Be conscious about moving people up to higher levels. Have opportunities at all three levels. Be creative in meeting organizational needs with activity leaders if you can’t find enough organizational volunteers.
Invest in Necessary Systems Databases matter Track potential volunteers and volunteer interests Track volunteer activity Lists of past participants MUCH more valuable than list of those potentially interested Link to online sign-up is a big plus.
S PECIAL TOPIC : INTERNSHIPS Increasingly accepted by young professionals Recruit through college career placement, through college departments, and through job search websites. Commit time for personnel management of interns.
TO CONTACT ME : www.poisner.com – for email newsletter signup Twitter.com/jpoisner Via phone: 503-490-1234 Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org