Improve the Volunteer Scheduling Process
Do you schedule volunteers for your organization? Then you know what a challenge it can be. You have to worry about your charity’s needs while also balancing the needs of your volunteers, and that harmony is not easy to find.
A little advance planning can make a huge difference. Use the following ways to schedule volunteers to get the most out of them.
Know How Much Help You Will Need in Advance
Before you can even start scheduling, you should have a clear idea of your needs. The last thing you want is people standing around during a volunteer shift because you don’t have enough for them to do — or, worse, getting overwhelmed because you didn’t schedule enough volunteers for a shift. Break down each job with a written description so your volunteers understand what is expected of them. This will also let volunteers determine if they feel comfortable doing a certain task.
Volgistics includes areas to describe the assignment, which you can make available to volunteers as clickable links on the schedule or an opportunity directory.
Schedule Shifts Mindfully
While you may be tempted to schedule longer shifts for your volunteers — it’s easier on a coordinator to have the same group — you need to think about their needs, too. For example, you may need shorter shifts if:
- Volunteers perform strenuous tasks, such as lifting heavy objects
- Your event happens in brutal weather conditions, such as extreme hot or cold
- The event they help at is fun, such as a festival, and they want time to explore it
You can also offer both short and long shifts for the same period. For example, provide one four-hour slot and two two-hour slots for the same shift. You’ll quickly see what option people prefer and can schedule accordingly the next time.
Know the Responsibilities of Each Shift
Some tasks require people who have had specialized instruction. You don’t want to sign up someone who hasn’t gone through the training and who can’t complete the task. Consider what will have to be done at every shift, and come up with a list of people who are qualified to do it. Don’t let anyone else sign up for that time or place.
With Volgistics, each assignment includes schedule rules that only allow volunteers to schedule themselves if they meet criteria that you define.
Allow People to Schedule Their Own Shifts
This will save you a lot of time and also let volunteers pick the hours that best suit their schedules. Software like Volgistics makes a transition to a system like this easy, and you can even schedule emails and texts to remind people about their shifts.
Post the Shift Times for Easy Volunteer Access
You should have a place online where volunteers can check on the shift times. They may forget when they are scheduled or need to move times around if an issue arises. Having the content easily accessible will help them stay organized and increase the odds they do not miss a shift. You can do all this with Volgistics, too.