Just because volunteers don’t get paid, it doesn’t mean they don’t work. Manage your volunteers the way you manage your staff. Give them the support they need to perform their duties by designating a supervisor to whom they can turn for advice, guidance, and feedback. Supervisors need to provide the materials, training, direction, and encouragement to enable volunteers to perform their assigned tasks.
Empower volunteers by providing them with the following:
- Sufficient orientation to the organization
- Clear and appropriate expectations
- Proper training and equipment
- Ongoing communication
- Evaluation of performance
- Regular reinforcement and recognition
Ongoing communication with volunteers is important. Supervisors need to develop positive relationships with volunteers and convey that the organization needs and values their contribution. In addition to sharing information with volunteers, supervisors should take the time to gather the volunteers’ input. Supervisors can ask volunteers about what clients and community members need and want, how people view the organization, and what can be done to improve its image. By seeking input from volunteers regularly, supervisors can get information that will help the organization better use volunteers and serve the community.