Creating Enticing Volunteer Positions

For many years, Volunteer Victoria has had a strong partnership with the Administrators of Volunteer Resources British Columbia (AVRBC), BC’s professional group for people involved in the administration of volunteers.  Every month between September and June on the third Thursday of the month, local coordinators of volunteers gather in Victoria at AVRBC meetings to learn about topics in volunteer management. 

AVRBC South Island’s most recent meeting, held on June 16th, featured a panel of presenters speaking on the topic of Creating Enticing Volunteer Positions.  Panelists Kelly Sprackett, Nancy Martens, and Christine Foster led an informative and interactive presentation.  In this first post of a two-part series, I’ll outline for you some of the beginning steps to creating attractive and enticing volunteer positions that these panelists discussed during their presentations.

First presenter Kelly Sprackett, responsible for managing volunteers at the Broadmead Care Society, reminded us that volunteer position descriptions (alternatively called role descriptions or other various terms) are the key documents that we need to recruit volunteers.  In part, she encouraged us to consider the following in creating them:

  1. Examine the mission, vision and philosophy of your organization before you create the volunteer position.  Any position you create needs to fit with these elements of your organization.
  2. Consider how you can promote organizational change and culture through the design of each volunteer role.
  3. Make sure that the volunteer position description is  consistent with your organization’s policies and procedures.  Check for clear and consistent language between all documents.  A clear role description will help you to both reduce risk and maintain good volunteer/staff relations in your organization.
  4. Build some flexibility into the role description to allow you to keep it interesting and motivational for the volunteer(s) who will perform that role.  Remember, creating volunteer roles is just as much about serving the needs of the volunteer as serving the needs of the organization.  Sometimes it will be appropriate to even create a volunteer position description for a particular person,  sometimes not.  (Re-read #1 in this list before you do this…i.e. will the new position fit your mission?)
  5. The volunteer position description serves as a measure for future supervision and evaluation of the volunteer; it’s a guideline for the volunteer and their supervisor to follow.
  6. Regular check-ins with the volunteer(s) performing the role may lead to changes in the role description, based on changing needs of the organization.
  7. Training for the volunteer extends from the role description; they must complement each other.
  8. The more clear and meaningful you make the volunteer’s role description, the easier it will also be to appreciate and recognize the volunteer performing that role. 

Stay tuned for my next blog post to learn what Nancy Martens and Christine Foster had to share during this worthwhile discussion about creating enticing volunteer position descriptions.

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