1. Recruit them for a finite and achievable activity
Would you sign a blank cheque for your time? No, I doubt it! Neither will the person you are looking for. It’s much better to offer a specific task with a manageable time-scale. Volunteers like a project that they can complete and then get on with their lives.
2. Tell them exactly what the role is
Keep it easy to understand. Use plain English, avoid technical jargon or you will annoy people. Paradoxically, if you make the job sound grand and high-powered this will only put people off.
3. Find out a little bit about your volunteer
If you take the time to get to know them just a little then you can try and give them a role that is satisfying and appropriate to their experience and physical ability. They will be happier and they will do a better job for you.
4. Give them enough training to enable them to do the role effectively
Make sure you show your volunteers what they need to do, or team them up with someone with experience. And giving them a written brief/map/instructions/crib sheet/contact list really helps. It can be scary being a new volunteer – if you are bombarded with important information at the start its easy to forget a vital detail.
5. Acknowledge them on the day
It is surprisingly easy to be blind to your helpers during the actual event or project because it is so hectic for you. Make an effort to know who they are and say hello.
6. Say thank you afterwards
It’s all over! You collapse with exhaustion and feel waves of relief wash over you. It might sound old-fashioned but a phone call, e-mail or letter gives your volunteers a nice warm wanted feeling. Prompt and personalized but not patronizing and ending with “See you again next time”.
Q Have you volunteered in the last 6 months? What did you do and what inspired you to do it?