One of the most important responsibilities that an organization has to its volunteers is providing timely and appropriate training throughout the volunteer’s lifecycle with the organization. From first impression until the last day volunteering (hopefully many years in the future); the success of the volunteer is in the hands of the leadership.
Someone once said that a volunteer is just someone waiting to be told what to do. I volunteer for some interesting groups, and I must admit, most of them need to brush up on not only volunteer training, but also how to interact with volunteers.
Let me share with you a scenario. Organization C, is having their annual festival at a 15 acre park in the heart of the city. The festival requires volunteers to re-create famous historical people from the city’s past. The only missive the volunteers receive is who they are supposed to represent and the date and time of the event. That.Is.All. So, I as a dutiful volunteer look on-line to see if there are volunteer guidelines on their website. No. There was also no follow-up emails with more information from the organization.
I made a few phone calls and gathered more details. Important details such as
- where to park my vehicle
- how long the re-creation presentations were supposed to last
- how many presentations would be required
- where exactly in the park would I be providing the presentation
- whether or not I needed to bring my own water
- if the weather forecast was unfavorable for an outdoor event would there be a raindate
- how would I be contacted if the event was postponed, etc.
While talking with other newbie volunteers, they too had been uncomfortable not knowing many of the important details. The coordinator of the program was inundated with phone calls from the new volunteers. The coordinator was stressed, the volunteers were stressed, all due to a lack of consideration regarding the needs of the volunteers and the event.
For all volunteers, from the people bringing refreshments to the committee chairs, simple data sheets that provide the support information the volunteers will help ensure your volunteers remain committed to the organization, and reflect will reflect a positive attitude towards your organization, the events and beyond.
Is your organization suffering from high levels of volunteer churn? LEAD for Pollinators can work with your organization to help ensure a sustainable future to support your agricultural community. Call us for consultation regarding: Volunteer Management, Strategic Planning, Board Member Training, Nominating Committee Development, Constitution and By-Laws Review, and other educational and board development support for your association.