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A blog for the people who manage, coordinate, and supervise volunteers. Chocked full of useful information to help you create amazing volunteer programs.

 

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Top tags: volunteer management  volunteer engagement  grassroots organizations  grassroots groups  volunteer recognition  supervising volunteers  volunteer program  volunteer  volunteer training  volunteers  Grassroots Growth  Toronto  volunteer retention  VECTor 2016  volunteer managers  Volunteer orientation  volunteer screening  volunteering  volunteerism  Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act  advice  Free resources  Leadership  networking  non-profits  Ontario  VECTor Conference  volunteer coordination  volunteer programs  volunteer recruitment 

Ways To Adapt Your Volunteer Engagement for Event Volunteers

Posted By Kasandra James, Subscriptions Coordinator, December 8, 2016
Updated: December 7, 2016
 

Infographic: Ways To Adapt Your Volunteer Engagement for Event Volunteers 

 


As Volunteer Toronto’s Subscriptions Coordinator, Kasandra James is the first point of contact for non-profits looking for support. She facilitates monthly Subscriber Circles - discussion groups for managers and coordinators of volunteers, contributes to our Sector Space newsletter and social media communications, and makes sure our subscriptions package continues to help non-profit organizations build capacity through volunteer involvement. 

 

Tags:  best practises in volunteer engagement  Event volunteers  Infographic  orientation  recognition  recruitment  screening  training  Volunteer engagement  volunteer management  volunteer managers 

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How To Keep Your Volunteer Program Compliant With The Sexual Violence & Harassment Action Plan Act

Posted By Sammy Feilchenfeld, Training Coordinator, December 2, 2016
Updated: December 5, 2016
 Sexual Violence & Harassment Action Plan Act

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

 

On September 8, 2016, the Sexual Violence & Harassment Action Plan Act (also known as Bill 132) came into force. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your volunteer program is compliant and you’re protecting volunteers, employees and board members from sexual harassment and violence.

 The Act made changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to:

  1. Expand the definition of workplace harassment to specifically include workplace sexual harassment, and
  2. Determine the obligations of employers to be more proactive in addressing harassment in the workplace

There are a few things you’ll need to do to make sure that your organization is complying with Bill 132, and they involve volunteers along with employees.

 

Policy – Including Sexual Harassment

First, your organization must review and update your Workplace Violence & Harassment Policy to include the definition of workplace sexual harassment. Here’s the definition from the Ministry of Labour:

“(a) engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or

(b) making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome;”

 

Program – Complaints, Investigations & Results

 Next, you’ll need to create a written program to implement this policy by creating mechanisms for volunteers, employees and board members to make complaints and report incidents. This program should clearly explain the process for how complaints are made and how they’ll be responded to.

 Your organization must take complaints seriously and implement an investigation and reporting process for every complaint. Failure to do so may result in the Ministry of Labour engaging a third party for investigation – with the cost falling entirely on your organization. This investigation process should resolve the complaint, and your policy should address the repercussions for individuals who have been proven to sexually harass others in your organization.

 

Training – Letting Everyone Know

 The last compliance measure is that you must train everyone – staff, volunteers and board members – about your Workplace Violence & Harassment Policy. Your training should answer these questions:

·       What is sexual harassment?

·       How will volunteers make complaints and/or report incidents?

·       What will happen after a volunteer makes a complaint?

·       How will results of the investigation be shared?

 

The Ministry of Labour has produced a Code of Practice to help you understand your requirements. Our online Legislation course can also help you understand the many obligations your organization has to ensure a compliant volunteer program. If you have any other questions about implementing this new change to Ontario law, contact Sammy at sfeilchenfeld@volunteertoronto.ca or 416-961-6888 x235.

 

Get in-person volunteer management advice from our experts!

As Volunteer Toronto's Training Coordinator, Sammy Feilchenfeld develops and delivers in-person, online and on-demand training in order to support managers and coordinators of volunteers in Toronto’s non-profit and charitable organizations.

Tags:  Ontario Government Legislation  Sexual Harassment  Sexual Violence & Harassment Action Plan Act  Volunteer Assessment  volunteer engagement  Volunteer Management  Volunteer Program Policies  Volunteer Survey 

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Infographic: What To Do When Volunteers Burn Out

Posted By Kasandra James, Subscriptions Coordinator, November 10, 2016
Updated: November 9, 2016
 

Infographic: How to support volunteers who burn out 

 


As Volunteer Toronto’s Subscriptions Coordinator, Kasandra James is the first point of contact for non-profits looking for support. She facilitates monthly Subscriber Circles - discussion groups for managers and coordinators of volunteers, contributes to our Sector Space newsletter and social media communications, and makes sure our subscriptions package continues to help non-profit organizations build capacity through volunteer involvement. 

 

Tags:  disengaged volunteers  disinterested volunteers  not enough volunteers  tired volunteers  Volunteer burn out  volunteer engagement 

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What's The Best Volunteer Management Database For You - Tips From The Bottom Up

Posted By Claire McWatt, Project Coordinator, May 19, 2016
Updated: May 18, 2016
 

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

In our most recent workshop, Leading Beyond the Core, the Grassroots Growth team explored the vast expanse of online databases for managing volunteers. Grassroots groups, like all non-profits, have to make decisions about how to best manage their lists and online presence. New software products are coming out every day, and features change at such a rapid pace that it can be a huge challenge to keep up. So, how do you choose the right content management system? The answer is: by being a smart consumer.

Back in the day, volunteers were managed using lists and contact sheets. They were mobilized by making phone calls. Computers brought us Excel spreadsheets, scheduling apps and e-mail, making things a lot easier. In the world of Web 2.0, we’ve seen all kinds of volunteer management software emerge, with a litany of shiny new capabilities, for a wide range of prices. Today, platforms such as Volgistics, Better Impact, and so many others compete in a saturated market for our precious business.

The market has changed a lot. We now have options that integrate all the features needed to run a non-profit and/or campaign into a one-stop-shop platform. Nationbuilder, widely becoming the benchmark, is a very popular integrated option. Volunteer managers are also testing new software, like Timecounts, with the capability to send text messages and tag volunteers with a wide range of extra skills.

For grassroots groups, there are five key points to remember when considering your management needs:

1. What can you realistically afford?

Platforms range from free to thousands of dollars per month. Some bill annually, some monthly. It’s great to have everything, but your budget will be a big factor in what you ultimately choose.

2. What are the needs of your organization?

Some platforms are best for mobilizing people, others for managing memberships. The type of work you do will factor heavily into what kind of product best meets your unique needs.

3. How many volunteers do you have in total?

If you have a lot of volunteers, standalone volunteer management software may be very useful. The more volunteers you have, the more likely it is to be necessary, and the more likely you are to need one that has more fancy features.

4. What are your shift-management needs?

If you need to manage a lot of volunteers at the same time (usually for events), you may want standalone volunteer management software, or at least the free or paid add-ons available in integrated products. Further, if you need to manage volunteers across different areas, standalone software is probably best for you.
 
5. What is your technological proficiency?

Are you an Excel pro? Sometimes the best option is what the person using it is most familiar with. If your volunteer manager has been using one platform forever and knows it inside and out, sticking with old faithful can sometimes be your best bet.


In the end, it is most important to consider your volunteer needs, and to reexamine them often. The market changes, and so do your volunteers. Taking the time to consider whether your database is working for you, both in the larger context of your non-profit, and as it makes your volunteer manager(s) life easier, will help you stay up-to-date and on-task.



 

 

Claire leads the development of the Grassroots Growth project’s online community of practice, including the Peer Mentorship Forum and Wiki Resource Directory. She also manages relationships with Grassroots Growth partners, handles project administration, and collaborates with the Education Coordinator and Outreach Coordinator in research, training and outreach.


Tags:  Free resources  volunteer engagement  volunteer management  Volunteer Management Databases 

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INFOGRAPHIC: Making the Case for Newcomer Volunteer Engagement

Posted By Kasandra James, Subscriptions Coordinator, May 5, 2016
Updated: May 5, 2016
 

Infographic: Volunteer Recognition 

 


As Volunteer Toronto’s Subscriptions Coordinator, Kasandra James is the first point of contact for non-profits looking for support. She facilitates monthly Subscriber Circles - discussion groups for managers and coordinators of volunteers, contributes to our Sector Space newsletter and social media communications, and makes sure our subscriptions package continues to help non-profit organizations build capacity through volunteer involvement. 

 

Tags:  Canadian work experience  immigration  managing newcomer volunteers  newcomers  volunteer engagement 

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In Good Company: Is your workplace ready for an employer-supported volunteering program?

Posted By Volunteer Canada, April 28, 2016
Updated: April 27, 2016

 

Employer-supported volunteering (ESV) is increasingly prevalent as businesses recognize the positive effects it has on companies, employees and quality of life in their communities.

 

ESV is any activity undertaken by an employer to encourage and support the volunteering of their employees in the community[1]. In 2013, 37% of Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers, or 4.7 million, received some type of formal support from their employer[2]. Forms of employer support include: changing hours or reducing workload; allowing use of facilities or equipment to carry out volunteer activities; providing recognition or a letter of thanks; or offering paid time off.

 

ESV benefits everyone involved, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It is important to consider what will work for your employees. For example, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) may face different challenges than a larger corporation. Understanding the values and motivations of employees at each stage of their working lives is key to effectively engage today’s multi-generational workforces. When ESV programs are aligned with a company’s business objectives, the benefits can transfer to their bottom line by way of improved employee retention, recruitment and performance.

 

To make your ESV program sustainable, it is important to evaluate its impact, and report that impact back to the employee volunteers.

 

Interested in learning more? Consult Volunteer Canada’s Canadian Code for Employer-Supported Volunteering. You can also attend Volunteer Canada’s upcoming forum, In Good Company that will feature speakers and in-depth discussions on current issues and trends in ESV.

 

In Good Company: A Community Building Forum for Businesses and Non-Profits will take place June 8-9 at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel in Toronto, Ontario.

 

Volunteer Toronto members are invited to register at the Volunteer Canada member price.

 

Click here to register.



 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteer Canada is the national voice for volunteerism in Canada. Since 1977, we have been committed to increasing and supporting volunteerism and civic participation. We collaborate closely with volunteer centres, local organizations and national corporations to promote and broaden volunteering. Our programs, research, training, tools, resources and national initiatives provide leadership on issues and trends in Canada’s volunteer landscape.

 


 

Tags:  Ontario Employment Standards Act  Volunteer canada  volunteer engagement  volunteer management 

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From The Bottom Up: Grassroots Leadership Models

Posted By Louroz Mercader, Community Outreach Coordinator, Grassroots Growth, February 16, 2016
Updated: February 16, 2016
 

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Across our city and province today, reliance on grassroots leadership is growing. We expect ordinary citizens to take on our biggest challenges and help forge workable solutions. The Grassroots Growth project has taken the time to learn about who they are, what motivates them and what challenges they face, and now we want to help  support their efforts, .

Grassroots groups without a hierarchy usually devolve into anarchy.  While this may seem counterintuitive for a grassroots organization, the group will need a leadership and governance structure with defined responsibilities if it is going to succeed at a high level.

While there are the traditional forms of governance structures for volunteer-driven groups, such as having a formal Board of Directors, there are other less formal models that can be just as good, depending on the needs of the group.

Many groups use a “Leadership Team” or collective model, where power and decision-making is distributed evenly among a core group of volunteers. They often share responsibilities, they may rotate positions, and some operate by consensus, which can be challenging. While some groups function with a “Strong Leader Model”, where one person—usually the founder, who has a dynamic personality—drives the organization forward.

The leadership team and strong leader models are recommended as temporary measures that groups should employ.  We recommend that groups should use the model that works best for their group right now, and when ready, transition towards selecting a more traditional form of governance in order to increase their legitimacy and access resources that are only available to groups with particular governance structures.

If you are looking to start or grow your small grassroots organization, establishing the right governance and leadership structure will help you and your volunteers to successfully achieve your mission.

 

The Grassroots Growth Project is hosting two FREE pilot workshops on Grassroots Governance: Building A Structure That Fits:

 

Tuesday, February 23 from 6-9pm at Volunteer Toronto

Saturday, February 27 from 1:30 – 4:30pm at Fairview Public Library, North York.

 

To register and learn more visit the Grassroots Growth webpage.

 
As Community Outreach Coordinator for the Grassroots Growth project, Louroz reaches out to volunteer-run groups in Toronto and across Ontario to help spread the word about the project and get our services out to those who need them most.

Tags:  Governance  grassroots groups  Grassroots organizations  leadership  Non-profit strategy  non-profits  volunteer  volunteer engagement  volunteer-run organizations 

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INFOGRAPHIC: Assessing Your Volunteer Training Program

Posted By Kasandra James, Subscriptions Coordinator, February 2, 2016
Updated: February 1, 2016
 

Infographic: Assessing Your Volunteer Training program 

 


As Volunteer Toronto’s Subscriptions Coordinator, Kasandra James is the first point of contact for non-profits looking for support. She facilitates monthly Subscriber Circles - discussion groups for managers and coordinators of volunteers, contributes to our Sector Space newsletter and social media communications, and makes sure our subscriptions package continues to help non-profit organizations build capacity through volunteer involvement. 

 

Tags:  adult learners  Assessing your volunteer training program  How to keep volunteers  subscriber circles  volunteer engagement  Volunteer Management  Volunteer Toronto  Volunteer Training 

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INFOGRAPHIC: 7 Questions You Need To Ask When Assessing and Managing Risks In Your Volunteer Roles

Posted By Kasandra James, Subscriptions Coordinator, December 1, 2015
Updated: December 1, 2015
 infographic - 7 Questions You Need To Ask When Assessing and Managing Risks In Your Volunteer Roles
  As Volunteer Toronto’s Subscriptions Coordinator, Kasandra is the first point of contact for non-profits looking for support.
She facilitates monthly Subscriber Circle discussion groups for managers and coordinators of volunteers, contributes to our
Sector Space newsletter and social media communications, and makes sure our subscriptions package continues to help
non-profit organizations build capacity through volunteer involvement.

 

Tags:  risks with volunteers  volunteer engagement  Volunteer Management  volunteer orientation  volunteer screening  volunteer supervisors  volunteer training 

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Advice For A New Volunteer Manager - Abha Govil

Posted By Volunteer Toronto, October 29, 2015

 

In the lead-up to International Volunteer Managers Day on November 5th, we decided to help the novices in the field with a little advice from those who remember what it's like to be new at Volunteer Management. 


Check out our final installment with advice from Abha Govil, Coordinator, Volunteer Services at Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities.

 



What advice would you give? Write your thoughts in the comments section below.

Tags:  supervising volunteers  volunteer engagement  Volunteer Management  volunteer recognition  volunteer retention 

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Preparing Your Short-Term Volunteer Roles

Posted By Sammy Feilchenfeld, Training Coordinator, October 21, 2015
Updated: October 19, 2015
 
Estimated reading time - 3 minutes              

 

Currently, short-term volunteering is one of the biggest trends in volunteer management. More and more volunteers want to make a bigger impact in a shorter time-frame – maybe they can’t commit to long-term or recurring programs, or maybe they’re drawn to the shorter event or activity you’re running. Either way, volunteer managers, and coordinators want to know how to engage this new crop of short-term volunteers.

As Volunteer Toronto’s Training Coordinator, I meet a lot of volunteer managers and coordinators from different kinds of organizations. Some manage a few volunteers who’ve stayed on for years and years. Others bring in a thousand volunteers for two weeks and then may not see a lot of them again! In providing training and materials to help all kinds of volunteer managers do their jobs well, I’ve found the best approach is to cater to as many kinds of volunteer needs as possible.

Today, we’re releasing our newest Resource Guide & Workbook on Short-Term Volunteers. In preparing the workbook, I could see the need for this kind of information was growing as Toronto already has many festivals, single day events, short-term and seasonal volunteer activities.  You might need volunteers for your sports league that only lasts a couple of months, or you might need a lot of volunteers for a big fundraising event for one night. On top of all those events and seasonal programs, more and more volunteer managers and coordinators are seeing the value of setting up short-term projects for volunteers who want to make a big impact without a long-term commitment. How do you prepare these volunteers for their roles? And perhaps more importantly, how do you prepare your organization for short term volunteers?

To help get you started, here are a few tips straight from our new Resource Guide & Workbook:

 

  1. Screen every volunteer – even if the volunteer is short-term and may be contributing 6 hours on only one day, you must always find a way to screen your volunteers to make sure it’s a good fit – get help from existing or program volunteers to conduct phone interviews or better review applications

  2. Train every volunteer – while not every volunteer will be available for an in-person orientation, have all materials available to every volunteer through a handbook or website; you need to make sure your volunteers know and follow your basic rules and procedures and know enough about your organization and who they serve to be a good ambassador

  3. Supervise every volunteer – if your event or activity has more than a handful of volunteers, it could be very difficult to provide supervision for all of them; make sure you have senior volunteers, staff, board members and/or others you can rely on to supervise and oversee volunteer operations.

Knowing where your organization – and your volunteer program – stands in working with short-term volunteers can help you engage more of them, in ways that are both rewarding for them and helpful for your organization.

To learn more about how to deal with the challenges of engaging short-term volunteers, get better prepared for engaging them effectively, and learn some promising practices from Toronto organizations, check out our brand new Resource Guide & Workbook on Short-Term Volunteers – FREE for all Volunteer Toronto Subscribers!

Not a subscriber? Find out how subscribing to Volunteer Toronto can help you achieve volunteer management greatness!

 
As Volunteer Toronto's Training Coordinator, Sammy develops and delivers in-person, online and on-demand training in order to support managers and coordinators of volunteers in Toronto’s non-profit and charitable organizations. 

Tags:  Short-Term Volunteers  supervising volunteers  volunteer engagement  Volunteer Management  volunteer program  volunteer recognition  Volunteer Retention  volunteer training 

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Advice For A New Volunteer Manager - Jade Pichette

Posted By Volunteer Toronto, October 15, 2015
Updated: October 14, 2015

In the lead-up to International Volunteer Managers Day on November 5th, we decided to help the novices in the field with a little advice from those who remember what it's like to be new at Volunteer Management. 

Every Thursday until November 5th we'll be releasing a new episode! 


Check out our third installment with advice from Jade Pichette, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator at Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives



What advice would you give? Write your thoughts in the comments section below.

Tags:  advice  supervising volunteers  The6ix  tips  volunteer coordination  volunteer engagement  Volunteer Management  volunteer program  volunteerism 

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Advice For A New Volunteer Manager - Natalia Dziubaniwsky

Posted By Volunteer Toronto, October 8, 2015

In the lead-up to International Volunteer Managers Day on November 5th, we decided to help the novices in the field with a little advice from those who remember what it's like to be new at Volunteer Management. 

Every Thursday until November 5th we'll be releasing a new episode! 


Check out our second installment with advice from Natalia Dziubaniwsky, Supervisor, Volunteers & Communications at ESS Support Services

 


What advice would you give? Write your thoughts in the comments section below!

Tags:  advice  Human resources  relationships  supervising volunteers  tips  volunteer engagement  Volunteer Management  Volunteering  volunteering in Toronto 

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How to “Not” Fire a Volunteer

Posted By Kasandra James, Subscriptions Coordinator, September 28, 2015
 

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

“How to Fire a Volunteer” is always a hot topic for volunteer managers and coordinators, and the September 23rd Subscriber Circle was no exception. A large group of volunteer managers turned out to discuss how best to go about firing volunteers. The only problem – no one actually wants to fire their volunteers! In an industry that’s constantly recruiting people for the cause, letting someone go is the complete opposite of the voluntary sector’s objectives.

As a result, the majority of the Subscriber Circle discussion focused on how to do everything possible not to fire a volunteer. The group shared interesting stories of performance problems, discussed how they tackled the daunting task of retaining troublesome volunteers and, in very few cases, the steps they took when it was time to let a volunteer go.

So instead of “How to Fire a Volunteer”, here’s a Volunteer Manager’s “How to NOT Fire a Volunteer” list.

  1. Focus on Prevention
    The first step to preventing dismissal due to poor performance is ensuring that volunteers learn to do things right from the start. Volunteers who have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, agree to a code of conduct, receive the proper training and are supervised appropriately are less likely to have performance issues.

  2. Diagnose Symptoms of Poor Performance
    When a volunteer does perform poorly it’s important to try to understand the cause of that behaviour. Find out if your volunteer understands their job requirements and whether they feel equipped to complete that job. Volunteer Managers must also pay attention to the “human factor” and how events in a person’s life can affect their performance levels.

  3. Take Action Geared to Retention
    As the first goal is always to retain volunteers, taking corrective action is a major component of any “how to not fire” plan.  Once an area for improvement has been identified, volunteer managers have a responsibility to help poorly performing volunteers improve. This plan should target the reasons for poor performance, have specific improvement objectives and establish check-points and timelines for improvement. 

  4. Get Creative with Alternatives
    If volunteer performance fails to improve despite best efforts, but dismissal still feels like an extreme course of action, it’s time to find some creative alternatives. Sometimes volunteers just aren’t a fit for their roles; find alternative avenues of service that coincide with volunteer strengths and skills. For volunteers with personal issues influencing their ability to perform their volunteer role, a vacation or suspension may be appropriate. If you think that a volunteer does not value the organization’s mission, consider referring them to another organization that they would be more suited to work with.

  5. When All Else Fails, Fire the Volunteer
    When every possible effort has been taken to retain a volunteer and the situation continues to decline; don’t be afraid to make the decision to dismiss. It is important to make dismissal a formal process, much like recruitment or training. There should also be clear rules outlining when it is time to dismiss a volunteer and how the dismissal should be handled. The dismissal of volunteers who work closely with clients or other volunteers may create a sense of uncertainty, which needs to be managed in order to maintain the efficacy of the program.

While many participants in the discussion made it clear that making the decision to fire a volunteer isn’t easy, one volunteer manager made a point that I believe resonated well with the entire group: it’s okay to say NO. Even in the voluntary sector, it’s acceptable, and sometimes necessary to make the decision not to work with a volunteer who doesn’t reflect the vision and mission of your organization.

Until that point of no return, volunteer managers will focus on recruiting, training and retaining volunteers to support their cause.

 

What do you think? To get in on the discussion, join the next Subscriber Circle, where we will be discussing Volunteer Orientation.

Not subscribed with Volunteer Toronto? Check out the many benefits of being a Full Subscriber and register here.

  As Volunteer Toronto’s Subscriptions Coordinator, Kasandra is the first point of contact for non-profits looking for support.
She facilitates monthly Subscriber Circle discussion groups for managers and coordinators of volunteers, contributes to our
Sector Space newsletter and social media communications, and makes sure our subscriptions package continues to help
non-profit organizations build capacity through volunteer involvement.

 

Tags:  Conflict Resolution  Problem Volunteers  volunteer engagement  Volunteer help  Volunteer Management 

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10 Sector Insights on Supervising Offsite Volunteers

Posted By Kasandra James, Subscriptions Coordinator, August 26, 2015
Updated: September 2, 2015
 

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes  

I find it fitting that this month’s subscriber circle on Supervising Off-Site Volunteers was effectively “off-site”. A group of volunteer managers and coordinators gathered at West Toronto Support Services to discuss how they tackle issues that arise from working with volunteers they can’t always supervise in-person, and to share their experiences and ideas with others who understand their challenges.

The group covered several topics including risk assessment, policies and guidelines for off-site volunteers, performance reviews, volunteer feedback and volunteer recognition and motivation.  They shared their ideas on tackling the unique challenge of supervising work they can’t always oversee, and provided each other with a series of strategies to address off-site volunteer supervision. 


I learned a lot during the session and thought I’d share my top-ten insights here:

Before volunteering begins:

  1. Know the level of risk involved in the position, and plan supervision accordingly. The higher the risk, the greater the level of supervision needed.
  2. Be aware of legislation and policies that can affect your off-site volunteers and the clients they will interact with. Rules around vulnerable clients may affect the level of supervision required in some volunteer programs.
  3. Be clear about the roles and responsibilities of the volunteer position. Use orientation and training to reinforce boundaries and position requirements, and don’t hesitate to give refreshers when necessary.

Creative ways to supervise off-site volunteers:

  1. Mix and match your supervision methods. Check-in calls, activity logs and email questionnaires can be as valuable as formal performance reviews.
  2. Recruit volunteer Team Leaders, staff and clients to help. Utilize these sources both to oversee day-to-day programs and to help the review of volunteer performance.
  3. Always leave room for volunteer feedback, whether it’s with a suggestion box, a comments section in the activity logs, or a call to find out how a volunteer is doing.

Effective (and fun) ways to recognize off-site volunteers and keep them motivated:

  1. Keep track of positive feedback from clients so you can let the volunteer know when their work is appreciated. It can help the volunteer feel valued, and it lets them know that you understand how important they are for the clients they work with.   
  2. Have a coffee break. Meet with off-site volunteers occasionally for coffee and treats to say “thanks for a doing a good job”. You can also arrange group meetings, where your volunteers can gather together to network and socialize.
  3. Throw a potluck: Nothing brings people together like food! Host a potluck for your off-site volunteers where they can reconnect with your mission. Use this opportunity to educate and engage your volunteers with a guest speaker or a panel discussion on topics that interest them.
  4. Just say thanks!  Volunteer Canada’s 2013 Volunteer Recognition Study found that overwhelmingly, volunteers prefer to be thanked in person and to know the impact that their involvement is having.  Find a way to give your off-site volunteers that personal “Thank You”.

This incredible group of volunteer managers weren’t afraid to critique different approaches, outlining the pros and cons of different strategies and giving each other valuable feedback and encouragement. We even had a friendly disagreement on whether positive reinforcement or reprimands were the better way to tackle low volunteer performance.

Do you think negative consequences are necessary when volunteer performance slips? What do you do when it’s time (if ever) to let a volunteer go? Bring your thoughts to our next Subscriber Circle: How to Fire a Volunteer.

If you aren’t a Volunteer Toronto Full Subscriber, sign up today, and join in the discussion!

  As Volunteer Toronto’s Subscriptions Coordinator, Kasandra is the first point of contact for non-profits looking for support.
She facilitates monthly Subscriber Circle discussion groups for managers and coordinators of volunteers, contributes to our
Sector Space newsletter and social media communications, and makes sure our subscriptions package continues to help
non-profit organizations build capacity through volunteer involvement.

 

Tags:  supervising volunteers  volunteer engagement  Volunteer Management  volunteer recognition  volunteers 

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