As a volunteer coordinator, you may wonder – does all of my hustle and effort amount to much? The short answer: absolutely! The longer answer: the success of your volunteer program depends on proper volunteer management.
Without strong volunteer management you face the following risks:
Volunteers don’t do their jobs – Plain and simple, if a volunteer isn’t clear about the task at hand or isn’t given direction, they can’t best perform their assigned tasks. That might trigger a chain reaction of loose ends, participants/patrons not getting what they are promised, and staff running around trying to fill in the gaps.
Poor representation of the organization – If volunteers don’t know what they’re doing, it will show. Instead of fulfilling their volunteer role without a hitch as hoped, they might instead make things more confusing and frustrate attendees. Your volunteers and their interactions with guests, participants, and patrons reflect on your organization – for better or worse.
Lack of volunteer retention – When a volunteer feels mismanaged or like they are wasting their time, they won’t come back. What’s worse, they might discourage their peers from volunteering in the future as well. You might find yourself spending more time recruiting new volunteers than strengthening and empowering your existing volunteer base.
Unhappy boss – If volunteers aren’t being managed properly, it is likely going to come back to you in one way or another. If you feel overwhelmed by the amount you have on your plate, make sure you equip yourself with the right tools to lighten the load (VolunteerLocal has your back!) and communicate with the right people to get the support you need along the way.
Reflecting on this list, it is clear that there are many consequences of under-managed volunteers. This is one of many reasons why your role as a volunteer coordinator matters greatly! Your ability to lead, organize, and manage your volunteer program is what will keep everything running smoothly.
Get ahead of these potential problems by creating a plan of action for each new volunteer that joins the team. Identify their training process and their daily responsibilities. Schedule check-ins, and give volunteers proper resources to excel at their responsibilities. Finally, if a volunteer leaves the program unexpectedly, reach out with care and compassion to learn how the program could be improved. With these strategies (and your own special magic), volunteers will feel well managed, fulfilled, and happy to return each day.