Once you have your volunteer program plan and the pieces in place, it is time to recruit and manage the volunteers! Recruitment, screening, orientation and training, and on-going supervision are all components of effective volunteer program implementation and volunteer retention. The below menu includes links to more detailed information about each of these practices. (Adapted from the Catholic Network of Volunteer Service)
Recruit All Americans to Serve
Your volunteer program should reflect the rich diversity of your community. As a result, it is crucial to reach out to all sectors of and resources within your community such as seniors, young people (including students), communities of faith, and persons with disabilities. Advertising your volunteer opportunities through the USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Network or your local Volunteer Center will help you easily connect people with your opportunities to serve. A few resources for wider and deeper recruitment include:
Screen Potential Volunteers
For certain types of volunteer activities, screening and security clearance is absolutely necessary. What is volunteer screening? For what kinds of activities should you institute this practice? What should be included in the screening process? Applications, interviews, and how to conduct background checks are all included in the volunteer management screening tool kit available by clicking here.
The volunteers are flooding in the door from your effective recruitment efforts. Now what? What are the tips on matching a volunteer to the "perfect" volunteer position? For more information, please click here.
Volunteer orientation should include an orientation to the organization (history, mission, programs), the timeline of activities, roles (staff and volunteers), and the rules. One important opportunity is to illustrate the many opportunities within the organization for volunteer growth. To grow a flower, one must provide soil, sunlight, water, and a little nourishment. In order to grow and sustain a volunteer, the volunteer needs varying opportunities in order to establish their roots and grow with your organization. The Hands on Network has developed an innovative program called Citizen Academy where local affiliates, like Make A Difference in Phoenix, are providing learning opportunities for their volunteers to take their community commitment to the next level. The educational courses provide volunteers with a greater understanding of issues they could affect by making a bridge from volunteer service to true civic involvement. How are you growing your volunteers into your organization's Champions?
Train Volunteers, Staff, and Site Supervisors
Effective volunteer training is a key factor in volunteer retention. This section of the Volunteer Training Learning Path includes useful tools such as: Checklist for an Effective Training Session, Training Program Evaluation Form, Team Building Activity, Post-Orientation Volunteer Action Plan and a Downloadable PowerPoint Wizard to help you build your own PowerPoint presentation to train or orient your volunteers. Also take a look at Understanding Adult Learning When Training Senior Volunteers. This summarizes principles of adult education and learning styles relevant to training volunteers. Training opportunities are also available from the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network.
Provide On-going Supervision
As with staff, on-going supervision is something all volunteers need, although to varying degrees and approaches. Volunteer retention is critical to the success to your overall volunteer program and the quality of supervision impacts retention. For tips on how to adjust your approach to varying volunteer styles and needs over time see "Becoming a Better Supervisor" or "Managing Volunteers".