Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Best Practices for Volunteer Orientation

Do you think of your board members as volunteers? I came across the article below and was struck by the intentionality put into training and orientation for volunteers who are requested to perform basic functions or roles around a nonprofit. How much more might be appropriate for the volunteers we expect to help lead our organizations?

Best Practices for Volunteer Orientation - Shawn Kendrick, VolunteerHub.com
Back in 2007 we wrote a blog examining why volunteers stay with an organization -- and why they leave. We mentioned that lack of training and/or orientation is one of the reasons volunteers don't stick around. If "on the job" training is your organization's primary means of acclimating volunteers, it may be time to reconsider. Although it takes a little more effort, orientation is a volunteer management practice that sets the foundation for a successful relationship. To help get you started, we've pulled together some recommendations and best practices.

-Start with Some One-on-One Time
-Bring out the Paperwork
-Give a Sample of The Work You Do
-Pair Them Up with an Experienced Volunteer or Staff Member
-Give Feedback

In the end, you'll see that investing just a little more time upfront in the orientation process can pay big dividends later. You'll have better-trained volunteers who stay longer, which is well worth it.

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