How to Get Your Volunteers
Volunteer recruitment can be hard and time-consuming. With all that effort, we want to make sure that our volunteers enjoy what they are doing, but most of all, we want to make sure that they return! Here are a few tips to keep your volunteers coming back:
- Be Organized. Create a list of activities, like one-on-one activities, that volunteers can easily look to and then go off and do. Make sure to include the residents (and their apartment numbers) who enjoy those particular activities. That way if there is not an activity or job that the volunteers can do right away, then they can easily look on the list to see which residents can benefit from a friendly one-on-one visit.
- Make It Easy. Make it easy for qualified volunteers (those of a certain age) to come and go, by setting up a sign-in notebook at your facility's front desk. Stick in a blank calendar for the month for your volunteers to post the days and times that they anticipate coming in the future.
- Remind Them of the Benefits. Remind your volunteers that you can sign off on their volunteer hours so that they can get the proper credit at school.
- Say "Thank You". Honor your volunteers with signs of gratitude, like a quarterly pizza party for your student volunteers or a special luncheon with your residents for your adult volunteers.
- Discover Your Volunteers' Interests. Find out what your volunteers are interested in and try to pair them with residents with similar interests. Volunteers are more likely to return if they are doing activities that are of interest to them.
- Encourage Them to Teach. Because everyone loves to talk about what they know, consider setting up ways for your volunteers to share their knowledge with your residents. Organize computer classes or smart phone training for your volunteers to teach your residents.
- Have Volunteers Work Together. Provide a comfortable place for your volunteers to work together, especially at first when they may seem a bit uncomfortable working one-on-one with your residents. Start your younger volunteers on projects, like creating craft examples for your upcoming craft activities, so residents can see what the end-product looks like.
- Provide Snacks. Keep a stash of fun snacks and treats for your volunteers, like cookies or candy, for them to nibble on in between activities.
- Keep Your Office Open. Provide a fun place for your volunteers to take a quick break and to feel comfortable.
- Ask for Their Opinions. Be sure to make your volunteers feel useful by asking them for their opinions about possible activities, based upon their own experience of working with the residents.
- Now that your volunteers are coming back, are you looking for ways to say thank you? Check out a few ideas in our guest blog post over at S&S Worldwide.