It’s one of the biggest assets a person can give – their time. Volunteers are a special breed of people and as an organization, you want to respect their donation.
On the other hand, you need to make sure you have enough manpower to accomplish your goals. This can often pose a difficult dilemma as you try to balance your volunteer’s valuable time with your organization’s needs. This can be tricky.
Here are a few tips to help you manage your volunteer’s schedules fairly.
Tell Them Your Needs
Your volunteers cannot be expected to know when you need and how often you need them. They can guess, but that might not help your organization get every role filled.
Map out what your organization needs to reach your goals. Make a list of the times you need people. Define the jobs the person can expect to do. Then, let them fill in their own shift times.
This does two things. First, it lets your team see how they’re benefiting your business. And second, it helps your volunteers choose the tasks they’re best suited for. When they feel like they’re able to contribute value to your organization, they’ll feel more fulfilled and be more inclined to sign up again in the future.
Hold a Training session
Another way to keep your volunteers actively engaged and showing up to help is to train them ahead of time. This will help set expectations and show your team how they can be of the best service to your organization.
The better your volunteers know their role and what’s expected of them, the better they can fulfill their duties. They’ll be less likely to bow out of their role because they will have a sense of ownership in what’s being asked of them. Take the time to train your team and you’ll see the results pay off in dividends.
Designate a Chairperson
If you need volunteers on an ongoing basis, designate a chairperson to help. This person can keep your small sub-groups motivated with specific tasks. Hold regular meetings with each chairperson so you can pass along the results of their efforts and keep them motivated to work hard for your organization.
Give Them Flexibility
Life happens. It’s normal for things to come up after a person decides on a volunteer shift. Perhaps the biggest asset you can give to your volunteers is flexibility. When a volunteer is able to change their schedule, swap shifts and make updates as needed, they are more empowered to manage their own time.
By using a scheduling app, such as ScheduleBase, your volunteers can reach out to other volunteers when they need a shift covered. That way, you’re never left empty handed and your volunteers are still empowered to make adjustments as needed. This will take a load off of your shoulders too.
Gather the Forces
Managing your volunteers doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. It should feel fun for both you and the people helping your organization. With these tips, you’re sure to recruit and retain more people who are eager to help you reach your goals.
Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014