Previous articles in this series:
Volunteer Management Assessment: Introduction
Volunteer Management Assessment: Proper Volunteer Training
Scenario: The majority of volunteers are only interested in attending the event concert at no cost. They work as little as possible and leave as soon as they’ve “earned” their tickets.
Scenario: A shy, reserved volunteer is assigned to work in a busy parking lot directing traffic.
Scenario: A fair skinned young volunteer is left alone at a remote entrance gate with no shade, sunscreen, break or water for four hours in the boiling sun.
The top responsibility of the volunteer manger is to get volunteers who are truly helpful and productive. Unfortunately many volunteer programs operate under the short term aim of recruiting the most volunteers possible simply to fill slots. The pursuit of sheer more ”arms and legs” tends to be poor use of organizational resources. Organizations who recruit without an emphasis on job specifics (e.g. skills, restrictions, schedules) will spend more time managing volunteers who are poorly suited for the assigned job.
The best approach is to recruit volunteers who match your pre-defined organizational needs. After all the goal is to form a long mutually beneficial relationship. It is critical to clearly define and communicate job requirements (e.g. technical skills, beverage server’s license) and expectations (e.g. friendly, mobile, flexible, works well in high stress situations) if you expect to recruit the right people to advance your mission.
Some volunteers will be patient with “seat warmer” positions but younger volunteers will be more interested in jobs that make an impact and assist guests directly. Younger volunteers also are most likely to expect maximized use of their time and talents. You might be surprised at who jumps at the opportunity when you advertise ”the toughest” volunteer job.
Talented volunteer mangers will marry a volunteer’s skills, interests, capabilities and availability with specific event needs for the most effective utilization of organizational resources. Please share your tips for creating realistic (and fun) volunteer job descriptions.
Next articles in this series:
Volunteer Management Assessment: Adequate Risk Controls
Volunteer Management Assessment: Volunteer Management Technology
Volunteer Management Assessment: Evaluation
Volunteer Management Assessment: Conclusion/Questions