As someone who has both managed volunteers and been a volunteer I have thought a lot about how to ensure your volunteers have everything they need and that they feel appreciated for all their hard work! In my mind good volunteer management is almost identical to good leadership
I have complied some advice on how to successfully manage a group of volunteers so that the next time you are planning an event or fundraiser things will go more smoothly!
1) Don’t force it! You, and your organization, need to be appreciative of the work your volunteers put in now matter how much. Do not guilt trip them into attending a meeting or taking on a project they do not have time for. Your volunteers often have incredibly busy lives outside of volunteering so be respectful of that.
2) Provide training. During my time as a mentor with the DREAM program they have provided numerous trainings to the mentors. These trainings are especially important if your volunteers are working with children or animals. Trainings can also ensure that everyone involved is on the same page regarding your organizations procedures and policies.
3) Feed them! Providing food at meetings or after an event is such a simple way to show how much you appreciate all the hard work they have been committing to this event.
4) Be a positive role model! This is a no brainer; you should always model enthusiasm ad good communication skills to your volunteers! Good communication skills mean being clear in e-mails and being accessible to your volunteers when they need your assistance or something!
5) Show them how much you appreciate them! To me this is the most important thing you can do. The Center for Service and Civic Engagement here at Champlain College recently had a wonderful recognition dinner for all their volunteers, and I really enjoyed myself. They had dinner for everyone and gave out awards, it seemed that everyone felt really appreciated. It was a great way to say ‘Thank you for a great year!’ There are so many ways to thank your volunteers so get creative with it and have some fun.
The over arching theme of all this is just to be respectful of your voulnteers time and resources. You want to leave your volunteers feeling good about the experience; wanting to do more for your organization or cause.
If you are interested in reading more about this subject here are some other great articles!