Good morning. I think that spring may be on the way, as the sun is finally shining in Brierley Hill.
I’m looking at re-running my popular training sessions – ‘Volunteers and the Law’ and ‘Tools to manage volunteers effectively’ – you can find our more info about the course content by following this link If you would be interested in attending could you please drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org as I have to have a minimum of 10 attendees to make hiring a room worthwhile. Normally we charge £10 for the ‘Volunteers and the Law’ which is a half day and £30 for the ‘Tools to manage volunteers’ as it’s a longer session and we need a more comfortable room [which costs a little more, but is better]
Also I am thinking of starting up a monthly catch up session for local volunteer managers and moving it around the borough. Nothing formal, just a catch up over a cuppa in Halesowen, Brierley Hill, Dudley and Stourbridge, so there would be three a year in each area, but anyone can come to any of them. I was thinking that if I moved it around people who would struggle to attend would hopefully have a local venue to come to. Do you think this is a good idea, helping volunteer managers feel more connected to other people in the same role? Would you be interested in hosting a session? Please drop me an email to email@example.com
Another important aspect of managing volunteers which is often overlooked, is how to retain your volunteers. You need to hang onto them once you’ve found them! The reasons for losing volunteers may be the result of external or internal factors:
External – factors over which you have no control:
· Your funding has changed, or come to an end
· Your project/organisation has to close
· They have been offered paid work
· Childcare responsibilities
· Long-term sickness
· Moving out of the area
Internal – factors which you may have control over:
- Lack of support
- Being taken for granted
- No training
- No opportunities for development
- Not feeling welcome and part of the team
- No opportunities to be involved in decision-making
- Lack of stimulation
- Under-utilised skills
- Feeling their efforts are wasted
- Lack of variety
- Not being given opportunity to express their views and make suggestions
What can I do to retain volunteers?
Ask them! There may be simple things you can do to stop the volunteer leaving.
The following are basic elements of volunteer management, which are all important for volunteer retention:
- Induction – make it informative and interesting – get off on the right foot
- Initial Development & Training Plan for the volunteer – if they wish to progress. (Not all volunteers will wish to do so, but it must be offered to those who do)
- Development & Training Plan review and regular supervision sessions at 3 months, 6 months and every 6 months thereafter
- Team/volunteer meetings on a regular basis (these may be social or work-focussed)
- Consultation and communication
- Ongoing support from the volunteer’s mentor/supervisor
Regular supervision and support are essential for ALL volunteers. Even if they only have supervision sessions every 3 or 6 months, they should be encouraged to contact their supervisor/manager if they have any problems or queries, rather than leaving them until the next supervision session. This can prevent minor issues developing into larger ones and the volunteer deciding to leave.
Below are some suggestions from local volunteer managers on what works for them!
- Feel included, valued
- Thank them! Pampering/events
- Pay expenses where possible
- Support them
- Opportunity to progress if wanted
- Group volunteer meetings
- Have just enough to do, not too much
- Include in Christmas meals
- Ask them for ideas
- Be aware of friction between volunteers
- Publicising achievements – newsletter
- Other support available if you’re not there!