Top Ten Things to Do When Beginning a Volunteer Fundraising Program

Volunteer Fundraising ProgramMany nonprofits from colleges to boards and associations have dedicated groups of volunteers who help them meet their fundraising goals. What better way to increase engagement and reduce fundraising costs than to have volunteers solicit their peers with a personal appeal? Alumni groups, past president groups and foundation boards are all incorporating volunteer fundraising into their annual and campaign giving strategies. If you’re considering starting a volunteer fundraising program for your organization, here are ten things to do to get you started.

  1. Start Small. Establishing a culture of volunteer fundraising in your group can take time. The key is to start small and grow your program over time. As you recruit additional volunteers, they can help you find and recruit even more volunteers. Consider starting with a single class of alumni or segment of your foundation. From there you can expand your program to include all alumni or segments of your group.
  1. Decide How to Segment. Whether you want your volunteers to contact giving prospects from the same alumni area, current geographic region, profession or affinity, choose a method of segmentation and stick with it. It’s good to choose a method of segmentation where your volunteers are likely to have a lot in common with the people they are reaching out to.
  1. Recruit Volunteers. Many times those that already contribute to your organization are prime to extend their support as volunteers. Take a look at those with a strong affinity to your mission. Many successful programs are able to retain their volunteers year after year, so your recruiting should be less time-intensive once you build up your initial team of volunteers.
  1. Appoint Lead Volunteers. Enabling the success of your volunteers can be a challenge. You provide them with resources and training, but some volunteers still need on-on-one coaching to be successful. This is why lead volunteers are so important. They are able to provide more personal support directly to your volunteers, allowing you to focus on more strategic parts of the overall fundraising program. If you already have a program started, consider asking your highest performing volunteers to step into the role of lead volunteer.
  1. Assign Prospects. One of the most effective ways for assigning prospects to volunteers is to let them pick based on who they know best. You can create the list of who’s available to contact, exclude anyone with any special restrictions, and allow your volunteers to pick whom they’d like to contact. We typically see volunteers contacting between 10-25 prospects, but you can also leave it open for your volunteers to contact more prospects if they’re willing.
  1. Create Resources. It works well to have a welcome packet or volunteer guide to provide new volunteers. This is a good way to reinforce expectations and guidelines for your volunteers as well as let them know about current initiatives that may be of interest to potential donors. A typical outline for these documents include:
    1. The role of a volunteer
    2. Goals and expectations
    3. Impact of volunteer fundraising for your organization
    4. Tips and scripts for contacting prospects
    5. Who to contact for additional help (include Lead Volunteers and Staff)
    6. What’s happening in your organization – latest initiatives and milestones
  1. Train Your Volunteers. It’s best to offer a variety of training options so that your volunteers can choose the one that best fits their learning style. In addition to the resources you have already created, you can offer in-person training or a campaign kick-off event, live online training, as well as recorded training for your volunteers.
  1. Focus Your Volunteer Efforts. Since your volunteers are busy people, focus their efforts around 2-3 key times or initiatives per year. Pick a 1-2 week period and ask them to contact 10 or more prospects during that period. Time this around a key event – maybe they get early access to register for your annual convention by taking part, or it’s a lead-in to homecoming or a special giving day.
  1. Analyze Results. One advantage of focusing your volunteer efforts over a few short 1-2 week periods throughout the year is it allows you time to analyze your results and make adjustments. Technology resources are available that can give you powerful analytics that allow you to easily identify your top performing volunteers, as well as those who are struggling.
  1. Recognize Your Volunteers. Your volunteers make a significant contribution with all of the time and effort they invest, so it’s important that they are recognized for their efforts. List their names in your annual donor report or ask them to stand up at an annual meeting or fundraising banquet. Another great way to recognize their contributions is to offer them special perks, maybe exclusive access to a popular event or important stakeholder. Recognizing your volunteers is a great way to promote a culture of enthusiastic volunteers who stay with your organization year after year.

Volunteer fundraisers can be your key to success, but logistically can be challenging to manage. That’s why Reeher designed the first online and mobile tool to help organizations manage volunteers in your fundraising program. With Class Agent Fundraising, you can easily assign and manage volunteers, track their progress on tasks, provide the information they need to make the “asks” of their peers, and allow them to report progress and remain engaged with their team. You can view up-to-date campaign results at your fingertips – gone are the days of emailing spreadsheets and waiting for monthly reports to track your program’s progress. Visit Reeher’s website to try Class Agent Fundraising free for 14 days.




Volunteers as Customers: New Take on Age Old Ideas for Volunteer Management

Volunteer Management TipsCustomer service isn’t a new concept in the for-profit industry.  It’s commonplace for businesses with paying customers to have a robust customer service management process in place, and they should, considering their customers keep their doors open.  Through the use of customer service management software, consumer research and marketing data, for-profit companies can better attract customers, understand their needs, appeal to their desires and provide wonderful service when needed.  It’s pretty black and white determining who the customer is at a for-profit company, but what about identifying the customer of a nonprofit organization?  Is the customer the population the organization serves, or is the customer those who give their time (volunteers) and money (donors)?  The argument can be made that they’re both a customer, both being a different type of customer.  Regardless, whether you’re being served by the nonprofits mission, or providing your time and money as a supporter, you’re receiving something in return which is a resulting experience.

Exploring volunteer management through the lens of the volunteer as the customer isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that gets a lot of push back.  It’s a concept that is often unrecognized, polarizing, even ignored in some circles.  As it relates to volunteer management, try taking a “volunteers as customer” approach.  Making this distinction by giving the title of “client” to the population the organization serves through its mission, and “customer” to the volunteer who serves.    This being said, nonprofit organizations or volunteer administrators who take a “volunteers as customer” approach to volunteer management, spend more time differentiating between their “clients” and “customers” as they’re different people.  But It’s when you come to the realization that they’re different, you begin to understand that the customers aren’t always the people you serve, and you begin to view volunteer management through a new lens that allows you to have greater appreciation for their service.

Applying the concept:  From a revenue generating model, to the nonprofit model.

At a company or business whose goal is increased revenue, the customer purchases a product or service, and the money they spend is received by that company or business as a monetary profit.  Because of the way a revenue generating business is structured, they’re designed to generate a profit that benefits the stakeholder or shareholders, often times in the form of dividends.

Now, let’s apply the same concept to a nonprofit, but in this case when we refer to the customer, we’ll substitute that word for the title volunteer.  At a nonprofit organization, the volunteer gives their time in exchange for advancing the mission or cause of the organization they support.  The organization as a nonprofit is in the business of providing a good or service, and as a result, the community or population the nonprofit serves receives that good or service.

Volunteers give something to the organization just like a paying customer, and what they give, is also just as precious as the donation of money.  Whether pro bono publico or an episodic one time service project, that volunteer will essentially give something they’ll never get back, and it needs to be handled with the same delicacy as a financial contribution.  Because of this, there are severe consequences if the volunteer as a customer has a bad experience, and, if the experience is great, it’ll pay huge dividends later.

Implications of bad customer service.

Thinking about customers being those that exchange money for services, it is important to keep in mind:

  • An estimated 9 out of 10 customers will talk about that bad experience, with over 50% of them talking about that same bad experience all the time.  So, on average, each will tell 21 people.
  • 6 out of 10 customers who have the intention to complete a purchase won’t follow through on a purchase solely because of poor customer service.

The positive impact of great customer service.

I believe volunteer recruitment goes beyond conducting outreach, and largely relying on word-of-mouth, by volunteers who continue to advocate for getting involved with the organization.  When volunteers receive great customer service that results in a good experience, the below statistics can have a tremendous impact on recruitment.

  • Nearly 50% of all people are likely to try a new product or company because of a recommendation by a friend or family member based on a positive review.
  • The influence of a positive customer review by friend or family member has a higher degree of impact than any sale or promotion.

Let’s imagine those customers were volunteers who came to the non-profit organization to give of their time.  Viewing volunteers as customers, using these statistics, it’s eye opening.  It makes you think about the volunteer’s experience and the implications if that experience is less than desirable.  In addition, when it comes to future donations, volunteers are 10 times more likely to give a donation to a non-profit than someone who doesn’t volunteer.

If you’re thinking that these statistics only ring true to paying customers at a for-profit business, think again.  A recent 2013 study by Journal of Extension, concludes that decision making when it comes to volunteering has, similar behaviors and motivations to those who are making the decision to make a purchases.  Most of these behaviors centering around the two primary categories of brand loyalty and satisfaction.  Similarly, a Fidelity survey indicates that nearly 50% of people agree that the volunteers of today have a different motivation than other generations.  Most of these motivations stem from their experience volunteering, versus what they actually accomplish as a volunteer.  Having a great experience as a volunteer plays a vital role.  It leads to a volunteer either being retained, or moving onto the next organization.  Worst case scenario, tell more than twenty people about their bad experience.  It’s important to recognize that volunteers are essentially “customers” of volunteer opportunities.  The volunteer opportunities are what the volunteer is seeking and ultimately shopping for.  When you take the stance of the volunteer being the customer, the above statistics are revealing.

Applying essential elements of customer service to apply.

Here are some of the essential elements of customer service and some measures that can be put in place to address each.

This is a list of 9 customer service musts that have a unique impact on what a customer thinks or feels about a brand.  I will hit on each of these from the perspective of volunteer management.

  • Well-Designed Website:  A well-designed website aids in getting information about volunteer opportunities, calendar of events, how they can register or apply, or contact a lead staff member to get more detailed information.  As a result, potential volunteers can easily navigate the website, find needed information and apply to be a volunteer.  The fewer steps it takes to apply or register, the better.
  • Ease of Access:  The easier opportunities are to volunteer for (accessibility of location, and scheduled date), the likelier it is that a volunteer will commit.  Try scheduling opportunities on dates and times that volunteers have off from work, and host the opportunity at a location that’s easy to transit to.  You’re likely to have a higher turnout because it’ll be convenient and less of a burden for the volunteer.
  • Responsiveness:  Timely replies to email inquiries and returning missed calls in a timely fashion are key.  It’s important to strike while the iron is hot and their enthusiasm is high.  This will help with the urgency in which volunteers react to your call to action.
  • Equipped and Trained Staff:  The worst thing to fall victim to is wasting the volunteers’ time by not being properly equipped.  Hurrying up only to wait is unacceptable and is one of the biggest points of negative feedback given by volunteers to nonprofits.  Simply not being organized.  Get ahead of this curve by training your staff and preparing in advance.  Properly equipped and trained staff will be empowered to direct volunteers, and provide the necessary guidance to accomplish the tasks assigned.  This will help cast a positive light on the organization and how it’s regarded by volunteers, communicating to them that your events are well planned and efficiently run.
  • Patience Managing Your Volunteers:  While this is a must, this just means that over time, and likely through trial and error, the volunteer administrator or nonprofit organization staff will have to get good at knowing when to cut losses and decide when volunteers are a bad fit.  While I do believe that more can always be done to divert the energy of volunteers into productive outlets, as managers of volunteers, you can fire volunteers.  Being patient will allow enough time for you to determine the return on investment from a volunteer.  It will also help you better assess if certain volunteers are qualified for the job, if more training needs to be conducted, or if it’s time to part ways.  But the bottom line is only time will tell, you cannot rush to judgement here.
  • Openness to Criticism:  nonprofit managers ought to look at each piece of criticism as a chance to change or fix something that is broken.  Do not take these as personal attacks.  Creating a survey that volunteers can respond to, and allowing for feedback in after action reports is crucial to making improvements.  Through these mechanisms you’ll be able to correct deficiencies, but it starts with being open to feedback.
  • Positive Spontaneity and Appreciation:  A verbal “thank you” goes a long way, so I urge folks to not stop there, and be creative about it.  “Thank you” can include letters, cards or annual awards, but can also come through social media such as tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts on the website or even an article in an organization’s publication.  While volunteers won’t often ask to be thanked, kind gestures make all the difference.  It can leave them feeling over joyous about their experience only reinforcing their commitment to your organization.
  • Trustworthiness:  Trust goes both ways.  You’ll need to trust that the customer’s feedback is true, whether it’s about the way they perceived something, an argument with a paid staff member, or receiving poor service.  In the end, the trust you put forth in volunteers will be reflected in the way these situations are handled.  If there’s no trust, it will show, and reflect back in how volunteers treat their commitments to the organization.  
  • Managing Expectations:  I always tell people that the hardest part of managing a network of volunteers is managing personalities and expectations.  The expectation is formed from everything communicated to that volunteer, from the hours you tell that volunteer they’re committing to, to making sure the volunteers time is utilized effectively.  It is important to make sure the service project doesn’t deviate from what was originally communicated.  By properly managing expectation, you double down on trustworthiness, showing consistency which fosters an environment that’s comfortable and “known” to volunteers.

It’s no secret that many successful for-profit companies have entire teams, processes, policies and software packages.  Understanding the stigma that resides around the dreaded “overhead” or administrative costs at nonprofits, you may also claim you can’t possibly afford the same robust customer service packages and personnel needed.  While that’s true in many circles, I’ve learned there are many free and low cost alternatives that can be utilized.

Another thing I’ve learned over the years is that common sense isn’t always common knowledge.  In an industry where volunteers are utilized so often, with approximately 62.8 million Americans volunteering in 2015 alone according to Corporation for National & Community Service data, volunteer management as a profession, and the value placed on volunteerism is still awesomely underrated.  As a result, simple customer service practices are overlooked.  When viewing the volunteer as the customer, I’ve began to understand that human capital is so valuable to the sustainability of a nonprofit.  It offers countless benefits in the long term.  If similar customer service practices found in the for-profit industry are adopted in volunteer management, the return on investment can be seen in increased public engagement and awareness, new opportunities to cultivate support, and ultimately more donations for years to come.  It starts with valuing people first and seeing volunteers as customers who deserve to be a high priority.

5 Ways to Build a Rockstar Volunteer Base with Quality Communications

Creating a Volunteer ProgramWhether they are raising awareness, picking up trash or engaging with those in need, volunteers are one of the largest and most valuable assets to nonprofit organizations. With limited manpower and tight budgets, we’re grateful for the time volunteers donate and usually assume that is all they want to offer. In reality, they have much more potential.

A loyal, committed and engaged volunteer group takes their work as seriously as paid employees and will benefit both your nonprofit’s cause, and the lives of those involved. One key to building a rockstar volunteer base is communicating the right way. How you communicate with volunteers defines your organization’s volunteering culture and determines how your volunteers feel about the work they accomplish.

These five tips will ensure your nonprofit organization is on the right track to building a volunteer dream team:

1. Building John Doe Volunteer

Trying to communicate with everyone at your organization all at once creates a generic, boring message that doesn’t resonate effectively. Since our minds are designed to communicate with people one-on-one, a great way to fix the barrier is by creating a volunteer character profile.

Take some time to identify the characteristics that best fit the majority of your volunteers or the volunteers you want to connect with the most. How old are they? What are their interests? Are they in school? Are they retired? What do they do on the weekends? Why do they like your organization and want to volunteer?

Example: Mike (John Doe) is a young professional that just got out college and wants to spend his years doing good for his community and having fun before settling into a nine to five job and starting a family. He is tall, brown hair and really likes working with children and the outdoors.

From there, print your character profile’s face and name with his description on paper. Talk to this character every time you craft an email, social media post or flyer. Your message will resonate with the lives of your volunteer base and grab their attention.

Extra Tip: Don’t assume a lawyer that is volunteering will want to do legal work for your organization. Don’t pigeon hole your volunteers in their career skills because chances are they’ll volunteer more if you give them a vacation from their day job, not an extra shift.

2. Crafting the Right Message to Motivate Volunteers

The reason your volunteers take action and the reason they support your cause are often very different. In many cases, you can assume your volunteer base already supports your organization philosophically. To maximize results, focus on what motivates your John Doe volunteers to spend their free time coming to your event and supporting your organization.

For our character profile example, Mike, he may see this volunteer group as an opportunity for socializing. In this case, instead of an email headline for a beach cleanup stating, “The ocean needs your help!” try, “Get some sun, make friends and make a difference.”

Other volunteers may be looking to develop skills, build their resume or try new things. If they already support your cause, speak to these needs first and watch your attendance rise.

3. Build a Volunteer Tribe

The best volunteers not only feel connected to your cause, but also to staff members and fellow volunteers. Your volunteers need to see everyone as a friend rather than an acquaintance. Ensuring your volunteers feel comfortable is key to getting them excited, returning more often, sharing ideas and going above and beyond.

To build a sense of camaraderie, you can create t-shirts, get-togethers and happy hours after volunteer events. For your most loyal volunteers, invite them to staff brainstorms and bonding activities. Incorporating the personality of organization and staff members into your communications will help them feel like they are part of the tribe.

Extra Tip: Team up with other like-minded nonprofit groups to host volunteer gatherings and events and create a larger, united team. You’ll offer your volunteers more opportunities to get involved and extend the reach of your communications.

4. Cohesive Message in All Channels

People learn through repetition. Once you have perfected your message to resonate with the right people, standardize it across all of your media channels and re-use your content. With repetition, your brand’s message will become its identity.

It will also save you valuable time and money and ensure your message is of the same caliber, whether it’s your executive director or your social media intern broadcasting it.

For example, my client, San Diego Coastkeeper, regularly produces flyers, event information, environmental tips and press releases. All have the organization’s logo and mission statement, “protecting and restoring fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County,” on all content.

5. Following Up

All communications professionals will tell you, follow up is key! Whether this is the first time the volunteer showed to get their hands dirty, or a volunteer you have a relationship with because they continue to return—follow up and make them feel important.

Following up can be as simple as a personal email or thank you card. Thank them for their time and let them know how they impacted your organization and the community. Honors and awards also keep volunteers motivated. Award a new volunteer as “Volunteer of the Month.” Display this award in a high-traffic area and share across social media channels to motivate other volunteers and reinforce their value.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating a Successful Volunteer Program

create volunteer programThe backbone of a nonprofit is its volunteers. I was once told that it takes many hands and many hearts to complete our mission. That is so true of many nonprofit organizations, including Wreaths Across America™. By working together, great things can be accomplished. Unity provides a strength that is denied to the individual. At Wreaths Across America, our strength lies in our volunteer system. We could not exist without it.

When you think about it, volunteerism in America is as old as the country itself. It’s in the very fiber of who we are. From barn raisings to collective harvests to the creation of local schools, fire departments and hospitals, volunteering — to help a neighbor in need or those less fortunate, or simply for the common good — defines who we are as Americans. This civic commitment continues today in many forms: community involvement, fundraising, adult education, special needs assistance and environmental cleanup, to name a few.

We’re a generous and giving people by nature, and faced with the opportunity to give back for all of the blessings we enjoy as Americans, many answer the call. The real challenge of creating a successful volunteer program is coordination — tapping into a vast pool of talent and expertise and matching the volunteer with the assignment that will produce the most efficient use of that person’s time and abilities, to best benefit the organization while keeping the volunteer active and engaged.

People have as many different reasons to volunteer as there are opportunities to volunteer. Certainly, they all share a common desire to “give back”; they’re good-hearted people who want to help in any way they can. Many are looking to expand by meeting interesting, new people. Of course, many are drawn to causes that have touched them personally. Some are simply looking to fill a void in their lives or develop new skills.

At Wreaths Across America, we have been blessed with a large, committed and dedicated group of volunteers. We’ve enjoyed substantial year-over-year growth in the number of active volunteers, and, frankly, sometimes I step back in amazement at how generous people can be with their time and resources.

I suppose it began in 1992, when my husband, Morrill, owner of Worcester Wreath Company, had a surplus of 5,000 wreaths. He had the idea of taking them to Arlington National Cemetery and placing them on veterans’ graves. The experience was life changing, and before he left he vowed we would continue to bring wreaths to Arlington each December.

We received some unexpected news coverage several years later in 2005, when a U.S. Air Force photographer took a photo of the 5,000 wreaths resting against the stones in a light snowfall. It was posted on the Internet with a poem, and, amazingly, went viral. By January 2006, we had received over 6,000 emails from people all over the country who wanted to participate and help — who wanted to be part of what we were doing. We were faced with trying to figure out how to organize a burgeoning volunteer force. Soon a second problem emerged. In addition to wanting to join our cause, people kept sending in donations — lots and lots of donations, which, of course, we couldn’t accept. We wound up hiring a person to return the money, along with an explanation of why we couldn’t accept it.

Requests for wreaths and wreath ceremonies came in from all over the country. We were able to coordinate with the Civil Air Patrol, as well as groups like the Patriot Guard Riders, veterans organizations, the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C. and American Gold Star Mothers. By December 2006, things had changed dramatically.

We formed a board of directors and Wreaths Across America became a 501(c)(3) in 2007. Since then, the volunteers have come to us in droves. We put together a program that clearly separated the Worcester Wreath Company from Wreaths Across America.

The number of locations where we’ve held ceremonies has grown from 583 locations — including 24 overseas — in 2010 to more than 1,000 locations — including 27 overseas — in 2014. Our volunteer fundraising groups have grown in number from 1,100 active groups in 2010 to 2,047 active groups in 2014.

Volunteers in donated trucks delivered every single wreath that was donated this past year to more than 1,000 locations nationwide. Volunteers organized every single ceremony held last year. All our volunteers come to us with a singleness of purpose. They all ask, “What can I do?” They all share in their gratitude to the brave men and women of the military who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy every day.

Whatever the reason they come together, and whatever the focus of your organization, it is important to help your volunteers verbalize exactly what it is they hope to get from their volunteer experience. Matching the volunteer to the appropriate task not only gets needed work accomplished, but it also satisfies the volunteer’s desire to feel needed and useful. In the case of WAA, this is successful because of the dedication of our location coordinators and fundraising groups.   Having community members as “boots on the ground” is important. They know they do the lion’s share of the work. A shared cause that results in a shared accomplishment and sense of satisfaction will keep your volunteers coming back year after year.

Avoiding confusion among volunteer ranks is also very important. Be sure to clearly define everyone’s roles and responsibilities. Provide training if necessary and emphasize that there are no small tasks — every aspect of their duties is important. Be clear on how much time is required to complete tasks and the importance of communication and commitment. Do not be afraid to delegate authority when appropriate. Be humble enough to realize that your volunteers may be experts in areas you are not, and let them put their talents and experience to good use. And provide lots of positive feedback. Fostering a sense of team is key. “We’re all in this together” is not a cliché. It’s human nature to want to be a contributing member of a larger whole, and the satisfaction it produces creates a sense of self-worth that is payment in itself. We all want to feel as if we’re making a difference.

Wreaths Across America has grown on the passion of our volunteers, and we listen to each and every one of them. We are also ever mindful of other charitable causes.  When our active duty service members or veterans return to their communities, they do not live in a vacuum. Many face challenges like illness and poverty, so working with other charitable causes, in turn, advances our mission. We’re just a group of regular people who run a wreath business in Washington County, Maine. Many of our organization’s most successful ideas came from those who do the real work of organizing and carrying out our WAA ceremonies in their hometowns. These are our volunteers. We have nearly 600,000 of them now, and they make us strong. Together we stand firm in our mission to Remember, Honor, Teach. We are committed to stay true to our mission. An American Gold Star Mother who serves on our Board of Directors inspired us with these words that helped her in her healing, and has given us direction for the future: “In order to find yourself, first you must lose yourself in helping others.”

 

 

Tips to Having an Excellent Volunteer Program

Tips to Having An Excellent Volunteer ProgramMany nonprofit agencies are relying more and more on the assistance of volunteers to run their organizations effectively.

As with all others aspects of nonprofit management,  planning is important to develop an excellent volunteer program.  There is one essential theme.  An excellent volunteer management program is no different than an excellent program for hiring paid workers.

Of course, any personnel program begins with a detailed job description.

  • Skills needed
  • Supervision provided
  • Hours of work
  • Location  of work

Job interview
Interview each applicant personally.  Before the interview, ask for a resume.  Make sure to tell the applicant to include recent volunteer positions.  Ask for examples of volunteer tasks performed. Try to judge each volunteer’s temperament as well as skill levels.

Orientation
Conduct a two-part orientation. One part is the general orientation for all new volunteers.

Make sure to include the agency’s history and services.  The volunteer should meet the board chair and the executive director.  Information given to each volunteer should include annual reports, agency brochures, and relevant board policies.

Include a specific orientation about the tasks the volunteer will be asked to undertake.  Allow plenty of time for questions. Make sure each volunteer knows what steps to take if he/she can not undertake a particular assignment.

Supervision
Make sure each volunteer has a supervisor.  The supervisor can be either a paid staff person on a volunteer.  The supervisor should be in touch with each volunteer at least once a month, either by phone, e-mail or in person.  At every opportunity, the supervisor should thank the volunteer for their assistance.

Training
Provide opportunities for training for all volunteers.  This should include periodic training at the office on topics of interest. Volunteers should have an opportunity to attend conferences and other training opportunities.

Thanking
Remember that thank the volunteers for their service.  Volunteer recognition programs are always appropriate.  Include volunteers in holiday parties and other celebrations.

Evaluation
Make certain to keep records of the hours each volunteer spends assisting the agency. Note any problems and their solutions. Let each volunteer know that you will provide reference letters to schools, prospective employers, or wherever letters are needed.

Meet with each volunteer at least once a year to thank them for their service and make suggestions for improvement.

Problem Solving
If a volunteer is creating problems, set up a private meeting with the volunteer and his/her supervisor. Tell the supervisor not to criticize the volunteer. Spell out in a positive manner how the problem can be solved. Be firm but fair. Tell the volunteer that if the problem is not solved, the volunteer may have to switch position within the agency.

 


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