Build Staff Buy-in for your Volunteer Engagement Program


Published on

Is your organization open to engaging volunteers in new ways? Often one of the biggest challenges to a new model of volunteer engagement is the resistance of paid staff. Often attitudes and fears of our co-workers prevent us from expanding the work that volunteers do. But, if you've never worked with volunteers before, it can be scary. In this webinar we'll discuss strategies for working with paid staff to engage volunteers. We'll cover what you can do to alleviate some of those fears, strategies for working within a Union environment, and how you can train and support your coworkers as they become responsible for managing volunteers.

Published in: Education, Business

Build Staff Buy-in for your Volunteer Engagement Program

  1. 1. Page
  2. 2. Build Staff Buy-In for your Volunteer Engagement Program To hear the presentation by phone call: (415) 655-0053 Access Code: 185-088-411 Jennifer Bennett @JenBennettCVA CVA, Senior Manager, Education & Training Follow this webinar on Twitter to join the conversation! Hash tag: #VMlearn
  3. 3. 3 VolunteerMatch Overview “VolunteerMatch strengthens communities by making it easier for good people and good causes to connect.” 94,905 nonprofits…81,348 Active Opportunities…. 7,205,626 referrals since 1998 • VolunteerMatch has been around for 15 years, and is the top-ranked website for online volunteer recruitment and employee-volunteer programs • Our Learning Center offers over 20 webinar topics focused on volunteer management and VolunteerMatch tools, serving an audience of over 6,000 attendees each year
  4. 4. Agenda • Communication Is key • Create a strong foundation • Provide training and support • Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate • Working with unions • Q&A Page
  5. 5. 5 What’s the problem? • What does your organization think, feel or “know” about volunteers? – Volunteers are great, but you can’t give them important work because they might not show up. – Volunteers are great for support work, but we can’t let them work with children, or with client records. ~ liability issues – Volunteers don’t have anything else going on. They live to come to our organization. ~ lack of respect for time – Great – let’s get tons of volunteers in here. Volunteers are free – right?
  6. 6. 6 What’s the problem? • What do individuals in your organization think about volunteers? – I’m already so busy. I don’t have time to work with a volunteer ~ volunteers are more work than they’re worth – I’d love to work with a volunteer, but what if my manager thinks I can’t do my job? – Am I training my volunteer replacement? – What if a volunteer can’t do the things she says she can do? ~ qualification concerns
  7. 7. Before you start talking to others What do you want to say? • Do you have goals for the volunteer engagement program? • Do you have a personal or organizational philosophy for volunteer engagement? • Is volunteer engagement part of your organization’s strategic plan or initiatives? 7
  8. 8. 8 Communication is key Communication with stakeholders • Who in your organization is invested in the volunteer engagement program? – Org leadership, program managers or directors, patrons, existing volunteers • Communication with existing volunteers – Volunteers have ownership or control over programs – Hard to introduce new volunteers to shifts or teams – Attitudes hold the culture hostage – Intergenerational communication issues
  9. 9. 9 Identify Stakeholders • Assess where each stakeholder is on the engagement continuum – “I’m evaluating our volunteer engagement program. I’d love to get your ideas” – One on one conversations – Opportunity for you to learn – don’t defend or attempt to change minds • Group stakeholders into champions, those seeking more information, and those opposed to expanding volunteer engagement.
  10. 10. What did stakeholders have to say? • Are there themes or trends? If they want more information what kind of information are they looking for? – Case studies – Pilot programs – Feedback from existing volunteers • Communicate about the process – What are you doing to ensure that you find the right volunteer for each position? 10
  11. 11. Keep the story going Create ongoing communications to share information about the program • Successes and challenges • Ongoing work on pilot programs • New processes or better screening and training plans • New positions • And – of course – recognition! 11
  12. 12. 12 Build buy-in on a strong foundation Engage supervisors or program managers in the process. • What does a volunteer need to know, do or be to be the right volunteer? • How will you ensure that you find the right volunteer? – Clear and comprehensive position descriptions – Interviews and screening process – Screen for culture and fit not just for skills and traits
  13. 13. 13 Build buy-in on a strong foundation • What does a volunteer need to know before they start? – Do they know it already? Skills based volunteers – Are you training them? Who, how, when? • Involve others in the screening and training • Do you have policies and procedures in place? – Does everyone know what they are? Where they are? – Living policies evolve to fit the program as it changes – Do they include conflict resolution procedures?
  14. 14. 14 Provide training and support Managing people is difficult, managing volunteers can be even harder • Many staff members may have never managed anyone before! – Start with the basics – what are the expectations? – Don’t assume that rudimentary skills exist. Role play and situational training. • Include information on theory and philosophy – Your philosophy, the organization’s philosophy, books, articles, blogs on volunteer management and engagement
  15. 15. 15 Provide training and support What do you know but take for granted? • How do you communicate goals and expectations to a volunteer? • Can you tell a volunteer that the work isn’t right or up to your standards? How? • Create in-house trainings for staff. Informal support groups.
  16. 16. 16 Provide training and support • Staff new to working with volunteers and those that are working with volunteers – I know you know this, but I wanted to include you in this refresher. – Model the type of interactions you want others to engage in with volunteers. • Don’t abandon them after initial trainings – Daily interactions can cause confusion or conflicts. – Ongoing check-ins with staff or meetings with staff and individual volunteers. Ensure that the process is smooth.
  17. 17. 17 Evaluate! Things rarely work well the first time. • Build on regular check-ins. • Share questions or information across staff members. • What could we doing differently? What’s working? What isn’t? Solicit feedback from the volunteers too! • This is good information for your communication channels.
  18. 18. 18 Working with unions Build on foundation processes and clear procedures to create a use-case for unions • Clear and comprehensive position descriptions for paid and volunteer staff – Is there a separate word for a volunteer position description? Be aware of terminology issues. • Identify discrete tasks or auxiliary positions • Work or skills outside of position descriptions.
  19. 19. 19 Resources Learning Center Find upcoming webinar dates, how-to videos and more VolunteerMatch Community Ask and answer questions after the webinar – use keywords Volunteer Profile Related Webinar Topics: •Creating a Comprehensive and Engaging Volunteer Training Program •Where Do I Go From Here? Evolving your Volunteer Program for More Involvement •Walking the Walk: Engage Volunteers in your Volunteer Engagement Program
  20. 20. 20 Thanks for attending! Join us online: Like us on Follow us on Twitter: @VolunteerMatch For any questions contact: Jennifer Bennett (415) 321-3639 @JenBennettCVA Learning Center Find upcoming webinar dates, how-to videos and more