In this issue I provide useful tips and resources on interviewing volunteers, a part of volunteer engagement that's often short-changed due to time constraints. As you'll see, the payoffs of investing early in cultivating volunteers will pay dividends beyond the immediate volunteer needs of the agency. Contact me about volunteer engagement assessments, Skype coaching, staff training, and keynotes around effective volunteer engagement.
Tips on Volunteer Interviewing
It takes time to know those who may want to volunteer with your organization - time that may feel hard to find. Yet, investing up front in the interviewing and screening process will pay numerous dividends down the road. A few tips to consider:
Tap volunteers to interview prospective volunteers. Develop a Volunteer Interviewer position description that reports to the volunteer manager. Much time can be saved with a qualified volunteer fielding calls, e-mails, and conducting interviews of possible volunteers. Consider also having a volunteer check-in on occasion with existing volunteers to make sure they are satisfied with their assignments.
Uncover the skills of potential volunteers. When people express an interest in volunteering, they often don't realize all the skills they could offer. Work to identify skills for current and future volunteer placements.
Find out what motivates applicants. Motivation theory helps you figure out what's energizing prospective volunteers. Some people are driven by the cause while others want to be part of a team or feel like they make a big difference. Still other volunteers gravitate more to leadership roles.
View prospects as stakeholders first, then as possible volunteers. Every person who expresses interest in volunteering is a potential contributor or champion for your organization. While you have your own recruitment needs, sell prospective volunteers on the agency's good work. Invite them to receive the newsletter, attend events, give money or engage on your social media platforms, regardless of placement or not.
Great Resources on Interviewing Volunteers
Steve McCurley's document, Interviewing Volunteers, highlights my philosophy of interviewing volunteers in this highly useful 13 pager, complete with a number of templates. Steve is now retired but his legacy lives on. This document comes from www.myarmyonesourse.com.
Jill Friedman Fixler's handout on interviewing volunteers on the Ready for Volunteers website gives a holistic approach to interviewing volunteers and provides questions to ask that help get at volunteer skills and motivations. Visit the JFFixler Group, where other good resources are available.
The Susan Ellis'sEnergize Website has a solid collection of useful links on interviewing and screening volunteers.