Reader-Submitted Volunteer Organization Tips
- One of the best ways to attract volunteers, keep them interested, and organize around an event is to have a Web site. Nowadays, it’s easy to design a basic site and put it on the Web for free with services like Google’s. Once you’ve gotten bigger and have a flow of donations, you can put up a bigger, fancier interactive site if you want, but start small. Explain your organization on the site and tell readers how they can get involved. Hand out business cards with the site address on them to everyone you know and everyone you meet. Give people several cards and tell them to pass them out to their friends. Whenever you give a presentation about your organization, be certain to pass out the cards. You might want to stamp on the backs of the cards when and where your organization meets.
- If you’re not good at organizing, hand off that task to someone who is while you concentrate your efforts within your strong areas. As things go along, be prepared to change and revise duties so that people in your group don’t burn out by giving more than they can comfortably handle.
- First, have a clearly stated mission and make sure everyone knows it.
Second, as soon as your group has two or more members, begin distributing jobs.
Everyone, including you, should have assignments. Add more as the group grows. Each person should have a role and know it, should have a feeling of belonging and a sense that each volunteer knows how his or her work fits into the group’s larger plans and goals. If you do not use the volunteers you have, you will not recruit any new ones.
You should have regular meetings always held at the same location, on the same day, at the same time. Each meeting must have a specific agenda that ensures that at every meeting something solid is decided and some action is organized. I recommend using Roberts’ Rules of Order to avoid having the meeting break down into cross talk.
The third rule is to keep the organization active to keep your volunteers active and engaged.
- Working for an organization that uses a lot of volunteers and has a lot of turnover in volunteers, I can’t take the time to train thoroughly new volunteers every couple of weeks. So I have prepared a manual and had it printed. It tells the volunteer about the organization and explains in detail what is involved in any job that may be assigned.
- What helped me get a bunch of school volunteers organized was a book by Richard Battle called “The Volunteer Handbook.” The author has been involved in several large volunteer organizations. He gives you information you can use on recruiting, managing, motivating, activated, retaining, training and organizing volunteers.