Building a good relationship with your volunteers and supporting them is essential. Making time to ensure they are enjoying what they are doing is an integral part of a successful volunteer programme. If volunteers are unhappy and have no opportunities to raise concerns, they may well leave the organisation or possibly cause negative publicity!
Investing time to manage volunteers properly is thus very important and support/supervision should be well planned, and delivered flexibly to meet the needs of the volunteers within the organisation. Some volunteers will enjoy a formal supervision session, whereas others will disappear at the sight of a form and be unavailable when you try to book a formal meeting with them.
This is the voice of experience! I had two volunteers who simply did not want to make their volunteering formal, it was just a social opportunity for them. The mere sight of me clutching a supervision form or pulling out my diary, was enough to send them on an errand to town, possibly not to return until the following week, when they hoped I had forgotten. I got around it by making time for a chat over coffee now and again, bribing them with chocolate biscuits and asking them informally how things were going, and if there was anything they needed!
Hints and tips on how to support volunteers effectively are in this section of the Volunteer Management Toolkit, along with an information sheet on supporting volunteers.