Valentine’s Day is a time to show the love. But instead of focusing on the usual stuff like flowers and chocolates, why not bring some love to your volunteering strategy?
Here are four quick and simple ways to apply some TLC on your practice and improve relationships with volunteers:
L is for LISTEN
We should be used to asking about the needs of those linked to our organisation. Listening to beneficiaries, volunteers and stakeholders is relevant to shaping any strategy. However, we can make the most impact by simply just listening full stop…
Listen to your volunteers’ needs and motivations and build a role around them.
Listen to volunteers when they tell you snippets of information about their weekend or personal life. Remembering such details when speaking with them will help them to feel valued and this is integral to morale and retention.
O is for OPPORTUNITY
Take a look at your current roles and your volunteers. Do they represent the local community? Why not spring clean some of your existing roles, or even create some new ones. Thinking outside the box can lead to exciting new opportunities. If you don’t have the time to update your website, can it become a volunteering role?
We often talk about ‘competitor analysis’ when planning as an organisation so why not see how other charities are promoting similar volunteering roles? Are their communications more eye-catching? Are their role descriptions less cumbersome?
V is for VARIETY
Examine your communications and your recruitment methods. As well as using the services of your local Volunteer Centre, make sure you are getting the most out of social media and local events. Different methods will attract different volunteers. And remember that word of mouth is often the best recruitment tool.
Similarly, keeping in touch with your volunteers requires a range of methods. Pinning news to a noticeboard is not sufficient so engage with your volunteers to suit their needs. Phone and email are fine but can be time consuming and unreliable. Don’t forget messenger services which can show you at a quick glance who has read your message.
E is for EVALUATION
How do you know your volunteer programme is working?
Do you have systems in place for supervision, or even exit interviews?
What do you do with the findings?
The volunteer management process is cyclical and while the journey of the volunteer may have ended, the reasons for this ending can influence your future planning.
Remember that these processes are not just about ticking boxes. The motivation and wellbeing of your volunteers are key to a good relationship and the evaluation takes into account the other three sections above when giving your programme the LOVE treatment. Listen to the responses, consider any Opportunities from the findings and ensure that you have a Variety of supervision options to suit each volunteer.