|My little Angel Paws|
* Start off on the wrong foot by making new volunteers spend LOTS of money for the privilege of volunteering their time! Buying a t-shirt with your logo on it is just the tip of the iceberg. Require a background check and make them pay for it themselves. Then make them pay for a visit to their doctor to get several vaccinations that you require. Have them make a "required donation" to cover the cost of any training and orientation materials you provide. That way, if they want to volunteer for more than one organization they have to shell out hundreds of dollars to do so!
* Don't have a clear process. Let your volunteers figure it out on their own - or not. Fail to provide enough training, orientation, or a buddy system.
|Isis at the library for the children's reading program|
* Tell them they'll be doing one thing as a volunteer, but when they start volunteering tell them you really need them to do something else. Make them feel guilty if they don't want to do that task. I once volunteered at a senior residence. Volunteers would go back weekly to spend time with "your" senior. Sounds lovely, right? On the first day however, I was told that they needed me to visit as many seniors as possible each time. I would look at the list and spend much of the time wandering around the 3 story building looking for each senior on the list. Much of the time I could not find them in their rooms or in the common areas. I would often find out that they were in physical therapy, at the hospital next door, or simply didn't remember signing up for a visit. It was so frustrating, after 6 months I stopped volunteering there.
* Expect them to come in for extra shifts at a moment's notice and if they can't make it, be sure to make them feel really bad about it. They're volunteers, what else do they have to do all day??
* Talk about all the Money you're saving by using volunteers! Don't mention how many animals or people they've helped, that you appreciate the extra hours they volunteered during the holidays, or that you valued their help during a big event. I once attended a "Volunteer Appreciation" lunch where the presenter spent thirty minutes talking about how much money they were saving in salaries by having volunteers. No one cared about that! We wanted to know what kind of impact we were making on the people we were helping not how much we helped their bottom line.
|Isis during a visit to a nursing home|
* Create a Volunteer of the Month program to provide recognition for your volunteers but de-value the program by consistently naming the same person every single month as the "Volunteer of the Month". Can you help it if the staff just loves that sweet kid who volunteers every day after school?
All of these things have been experienced either by me or my fellow volunteers. For those of you who manage or work with volunteers, keep in mind that volunteers need to feel like valued, respected members of the team. If they don't, they will leave. Volunteers aren't trying to take away anyone's job, nor are they bored housewives or rich people with nothing better to do. They are hard working, passionate individuals who've made volunteering a part of their life's goals. They've chosen to volunteer at your organization because they think it's something special.
Show your volunteers the love they show your organization and those you serve!
What advice would you provide to help make volunteers feel appreciated?
THIS IS A MONDAY MISCHIEF BLOG HOP!!