3 Key Points to Improve Quantity and Quality of Volunteers within your Community.

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3 Key Points to Improve Quantity and Quality of Volunteers within your Community.

Posted on May 9, 2012

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average of volunteers nationwide rose 5% from 2010-2011. That makes 28.6%, 64.3 million Americans, volunteering their time to serve. How many Volunteers do you have helping you? With these simples tips you can enhance the quality and quantity of volunteers you have!

Before we can begin the search we must first be realistic as to the types of volunteers we are looking for.  Most regular volunteers have prior obligations such as jobs, school, family or children. Due to priorities, they may be limited in availability. Oftentimes with volunteering it is not so much the time one can put in, but the quality and quantity of those we have that will carry us through!

Gain Personal Knowledge of Your Volunteers and Find out what Their needs are: 

  • The idea of building strong and committed volunteers can be started by gaining personal knowledge of them as a group and/or as individuals. The most important information you will need to know is what THEIR needs are. By assisting them in fulfilling their needs you can offer them a sense of ownership over the project. Screening your volunteers with a questionnaire that provides you with information and be sure to use probing questions such as “What do you like to do in your free time? What are some of your personal strengths? What are you hoping to gain out of this experience?” and most importantly “What time do you have available to volunteer?.” Once you know who your volunteers are and why they are looking to help, you will be better equipped to fulfill their needs. Eleanor Roosevelt said it perfectly when stating “In all our contacts it is probably the sense of being really needed and wanted which gives us the greatest satisfaction and creates the most lasting bond.” Meet your volunteer’s needs and create a bond that will allow them to assist you in filling your needs.

Use Your Knowledge of Their Strengths and Needs to Fulfill Your Needs: 

  • Now that you have a sense of what your volunteers are looking for, find out what best suits YOUR needs. Focus on their strengths and what they enjoy then find things for them to do that would best compliment them. If they are great with organizational skills, give them a storage area or book shelf to organize. If they enjoy socializing, find a resident for them to visit with. Even if it is a group that is just looking to put a smile on someone’s face, there is always a way to create a spot for their services.

Let Them Know You Appreciate Their Time: 

  • It is a good practice to be prepared and acknowledge their time with either a written summary of hours and their specific project, a simple note of gratitude or small thank you gift. Time given is the most valuable asset of all. A good volunteering experience has benefits that go beyond your facility and into the community.

The two main, key points to keeping volunteers within your community are to fill their needs and let them know that they are appreciated. Try reaching out in your community to find volunteers through organizations such as these: Churches, Boy Scout or Girl Scout Troops, Home-schooled Children, Retired Individuals*, Local Colleges (if available), Surrounding Schools, High Functioning Group Homes, Performing Arts Groups, Community Organizations, and/or Summer Camps.