Jun 02 2017
Managing volunteers this National Volunteers’ Week

Happy National Volunteers’ Week! 1-7 June 2017 is your chance to say a big ‘thank you’ to your dedicated and hardworking volunteers, and it’s also an opportunity to take a look at your organisation’s relationship with its volunteers.

To help you and your volunteers make the most of your relationship, we looked to our popular Managing volunteers course for some top tips.

1.Be clear about the organisation/volunteer relationship and avoid contractual language

It can be easy to issue a strict job description and use contractual language, however organisations and volunteer managers need to be very careful that they do not enter into a situation where their volunteers might be classed as employees. Policies and practices where volunteers are concerned should be consistent with the informal and voluntary nature of volunteering.

Whilst you should be clear about what is expected from them, those expectations need to be realistic; they are doing work for you for free after all! You’ll need to be realistic about the impact that actions within the organisation may have on volunteers and about the needs of the volunteers.

2.Understand reasons for motivation and use appropriate techniques

There are four broad categories when it comes to motivation, and most volunteers will be motivated by one of more. The categories are: achievement, status, affiliation, and therapy. Volunteers who are achievement motivated want to do a good job and gain a sense of accomplishment, whilst those who are status motivated enjoy influencing people and leading. Affiliation motivated volunteers like to be popular and make friends, they want to help everyone and dislike being alone. If a volunteer is therapy motivated, they may be using their new role as a way to get back to ‘normal’ life after going through an emotional crisis or illness.

Try to understand your volunteers’ motivations, and adjust your management strategies and techniques accordingly.

3.Help them feel like a valued member of the team

An isolated, ignored volunteer is not a happy volunteer. Take the time to meet with them and keep them informed about what’s going on. A couple of minutes spent asking individual team members how they are getting on doesn’t take up much of your day, but it can make a big difference to them.

You could also think about potential incentives such as a team breakfast or recognition from a senior manager. You might not have access to a great many resources, but there are a few little things you can do to put a smile on your volunteers’ faces!

Want more advice on managing volunteers? Take a look at our Managing volunteers course, or browse our other training courses here

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