We did a straw poll to gather views on what is important when we consider the volunteer journey. Admittedly not very scientific but the insights from asking a few people who work for different charities include:
There is some concern about the challenges of recruiting and perhaps in this current economic crisis we may lose volunteers who seek more paid work. Traditionally volunteers are committed to an organisation because there is an affiliation with the work the charity does, it provides value experience if you are trying to enter the field or an avenue to paid work. Whatever the reason for volunteering, most organisations could count on volunteers staying a while. Now, there is a shift. Some volunteers want short term experiences, maybe one off events, others leave because they have secured paid work and overall there is a decline in the number of people giving their time.
The helpline sector has always been flexible to meet volunteers. Offering short shifts, being the front-runner in having a team of responders working from home, but do we now need to flex further. Is the traditional three-hour helpline shift on its last legs?
What are the ways to recruit and motivate volunteers? Is it if you can identify the motivation a volunteer has for coming to you over and above other helplines, harness this drive and meet this motivation. Is then the success measure, the volunteer who stays with the service until the cost of the initial training has been returned.
Do we need to recognise the value volunteers bring to the organisation and then really shout about this. Use the social media platforms to share their stories, what made them volunteer for you, what do they love about being part of your organisation.
Photo credit - Remi Walle