Tips and Tricks to Handling Volunteers

Volunteers can be tricky: they could be there because they genuinely want to; they could have turned up with a friend who cares more, to get extra credit at school or because they have nothing better to do; or it could be a case of the highly dreaded ‘voluntourism’ trend. Not only do volunteers tend to get in trouble, they often come with high risk because you are responsible for anything and everything they do. If you run or want to run an organization or even a small group of volunteers who do basic things to help each other, then here are some tips and tricks for you to make things easier.

Meet Regularly

One of the problems of volunteers is that they drop off the face of the planet if they sense that there is no regularity on your part. This means having regular meetings come hell or high water and always having things to discuss. It helps if you have a regular meeting place like someone’s house or a café that everyone frequents. For bigger organizations based in cities, they usually look for conference facilities Geelong and other cities like that offer. This way they can meet a large number of volunteers at once without having to sacrifice on comfort or time. The trick is to have a list of people that you’ve familiarized yourself with and you go down the list talking to everyone and meeting everyone.

Follow Up and Through

This is the main reason that most people who work for non-profits and volunteer organizations don’t hold full time jobs outside of it; they do not have the time. Managing people who volunteer on a project can be a full time job in and of itself because many volunteers have an attitude of, ‘we’re volunteering our time so what if we miss a day or two?’ Many volunteers disappear for days on end without informing their handlers that they will be gone; some never ever return. However, since most projects deal with disadvantaged areas and communities, this lack of commitment can be jarring and cause more damage especially to the children in those communities. The trick to this is simply consistent and constant check-ups: text your volunteers regularly, figure out what their dominant mode of communication is, do not expect them to adapt to your convenient methods, and call them up if they do not respond. Also, if and when they do show call them out on their irresponsible behaviour in a way that doesn’t make them feel humiliated because volunteering is just as important as a job is.

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