Volunteers are integral to the work of many organizations and associations. People come to volunteer work for a variety of reasons, from a simple desire to make a difference in their community to the need to fulfill a community service requirement. Around 30% of Americans report having volunteered for an organization, and the combined economic value of their work totals around $147 billion.
Whatever brings people to volunteer work, one fact remains the same — organizations need to nurture their volunteer force to ensure they feel valued and appreciated. The following tips for volunteering will help your organization wield your volunteer staff effectively, ensuring the continued success of your efforts.
What Are the Benefits of Volunteering?
Volunteer work has many benefits. When preparing volunteers to work for your organization, it might help to educate them on the various ways volunteering helps them, your staff, and your organization as a whole:
- Benefits for organizations: Having a dedicated volunteer force helps organizations reduce labor costs and further important goals and initiatives. With volunteers, your organization can achieve more in less time and streamline tasks that might slow or limit what you can achieve.
- Benefits for staff: Volunteers can also have a positive effect on your organization’s staffing. With more people assisting with goals, staff can spend more time dedicated to furthering the mission of your organization.
- Benefits for individuals: Individuals who volunteer also benefit greatly from these activities. They might feel a heightened sense of community and accomplishment from volunteer work, and can even benefit from career networking opportunities and gaining essential employment skills.
6 Tips for Coaching Volunteers in Training
If it’s someone’s first time volunteering, it’s all the more important to nurture them and ensure they recognize the essential role they play in your organization. The six volunteering tips below include some great information to share with your new volunteers so your working relationship is as fruitful as it can be.
1. Evaluate Their Motivations
It’s important for volunteers to really understand their motivation behind volunteering before committing. If your organization relies on dedicated, passionate people to commit to a significant time and energy investment, you might not be a great fit for someone simply looking to fulfill their community service requirements. Ask volunteers to consider their motivations for signing up to help your organization to be sure the role is a good fit for them.
In your orientation or introduction, you might ask your volunteers questions like:
- How did you hear about our organization?
- What do you hope to get out of this volunteer experience?
- What makes you want to volunteer for our organization?
- Why are you deciding to volunteer now?
2. Understand Their Skill Set
Another important volunteer tip is to recognize each person’s skill set. Everyone has something unique to offer, and you should consider any new volunteers’ skills and how your organization can utilize them. In your volunteer application or interest form, you might ask potential new volunteers about:
- Any related training or certifications they’ve received.
- Their previous experience in this type of role, if any.
- Relevant skills and abilities that can help them with their duties.
- Their learning style and any learning differences they may have.
3. Ask How Much Time They’re Willing to Commit
Another thing to coach new volunteers on is how much time they can invest in their roles and duties. Since most events and opportunities happen at set times and locations, volunteers need to think about transportation and timing in relation to any other responsibilities and commitments they have. You should also guide them in recognizing how much they can conceivably take on — many passionate volunteers can easily overextend themselves by saying yes to too many roles.
4. Familiarize Them With Your Mission
When accepting new volunteers into your program or organization, it’s important that they understand what you’re all about. You can familiarize them with your mission and goals so they can see the bigger picture of your activities and learn about your previous initiatives and future plans.
When people work for a cause that’s important to them, they enjoy a sense of fulfillment, and organizations benefit more from volunteers who are passionate and driven about their mission. Volunteers can more easily visualize how their work makes a difference in your mission, which can encourage them to continue volunteering in the future.
5. Encourage Them to Bring Friends
Something that can enhance a volunteer’s experience with your organization is if they sign on with a friend or two. Having company helps even the most grueling tasks go by quickly and can enrich their experience while they’re working. A volunteer companion can also keep them accountable and motivated to complete their responsibilities. Other benefits of volunteering with friends include:
- Deepening relationships
- Sharing new passions and interests
- Finding common ground
- Bonding over shared experiences
Encouraging volunteers to bring others also expands your potential volunteer pool, attracting new people with unique talents that can aid your organization. You might institute a “refer a friend” program and provide a small gift to volunteers who bring others into your organization.
6. Highlight the Enjoyment They Can Get From Volunteering
The most important volunteer training tip you can impart to your organization’s volunteers is to have fun. Remind your potential volunteers that donating their time should be a practice that is enjoyable and beneficial for them. If they approach the work like it’s a chore or drag their feet, the opportunity might not be the best choice for them. Most people find there are many personal advantages to volunteering, such as:
- Self-esteem: Volunteering gives people a sense of accomplishment that can improve overall confidence and self-esteem.
- Happiness: People report being more satisfied with their lives as a result of their volunteer work.
- Purpose: Lacking direction can have a negative impact on one’s well-being. Volunteering gives people a sense of purpose and helps them feel more balanced and fulfilled.
Volgistics Can Help You Prepare Volunteers
Having a good volunteer management platform is instrumental to help new volunteers feel welcome and valued. Volunteer tracking software from Volgistics can efficiently retain information about your volunteers, helping you keep track of and organize your volunteers and their activities.
Volgistics software can help your organization with numerous functionalities, including screening, scheduling, and reporting. You can also create volunteer applications that immediately update into your system and communicate with volunteer texting and emailing software.
With Volgistics, you have the option to try our software before you buy — you can explore a sample account or sign up for a 30-day free trial. Plus, you can always contact our team with any questions or technical concerns.