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Volunteer Management: Build a Dream Team

Working with volunteers can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. As a small community organisation, you may rely heavily on the help of volunteers to achieve your goals. However, some common mistakes organisations make when working with volunteers can lead to a breakdown in communication, lack of engagement, and even burnout. This blog post will list practical solutions to ensure a successful volunteer program.


Communication

Volunteers need to feel like they are part of the team and that their contributions are valued. Failure to communicate can lead to volunteers feeling unappreciated and unimportant.


Regular communication is vital to maintaining a healthy relationship with your volunteers. Schedule regular check-ins, share updates and progress reports, and always be available to answer questions. Use various communication channels like email, social media, or messaging apps to keep everyone in the loop.


Training

Volunteers need to understand their roles and responsibilities, as well as the mission and values of your organisation. Volunteers may feel unprepared, overwhelmed, or unsure of what they should be doing without proper training.


Ensure that volunteers are adequately trained and clearly understand what is expected of them. You can prepare a volunteer handbook if you do not have the resources to run a comprehensive orientation session. A handbook can provide volunteers with important information about the organisation, its policies and procedures, and the expectations and responsibilities of volunteers.


Appreciation

Volunteers give their time and energy to support your organisation, and showing your appreciation is important. Failure to recognise and appreciate your volunteers can lead to disengagement and burnout.


Show your volunteers that you value their contributions. A simple thank you note, shoutout on social media or a small token of appreciation can go a long way. Celebrate your volunteers' successes and milestones, and always acknowledge their hard work and dedication.


Workload and expectations

It's easy to fall into the trap of relying too heavily on volunteers, especially when resources are limited. However, over reliance can lead to burnout, resentment, and a decline in the quality of work produced.


Create a sustainable volunteer program that balances the workload between staff and volunteers. Ensure that volunteers have realistic expectations and that their workload is manageable.


Diversity

Volunteers are a diverse group of people with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Failure to embrace diversity can lead to a lack of representation and exclusion of certain groups.


Ensure that your volunteer program is inclusive and embraces diversity. Create a welcoming environment that respects different cultures, beliefs, and values. Consider reaching out to underrepresented communities and engaging with them to build a diverse volunteer base.


Working with volunteers requires effort, dedication, and communication. By avoiding common mistakes and implementing practical solutions, your organisation can build a successful and sustainable volunteer program that supports your mission and makes a difference in your community. Remember to communicate regularly, provide adequate training, show appreciation, balance workload, and embrace diversity.


Photo by International Fund for Animal Welfare: https://www.pexels.com/photo/volunteers-planting-trees-5487075/

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