It's been a year since I started the Volunteer Frontier Update. I hope you've found the information and advice provided to be helpful in your work. There are now over 850 readers, and growing. Thank you to those of you who've forwarded this e-mail to other colleagues so they also can benefit from the Update. Last month's Service ROI Calculator was popular, so feel free to continue promoting it as well. If you missed Updates this past year, view them HERE.
This issue is about creating positive and productive staff - volunteer relationships.
How do we help staff fully embrace and value the diverse contributions volunteers can make?
What are the unspoken messages volunteers receive from staff that may limit the full potential of volunteers?
What can be done to give staff the tools and resources they need to have successful experiences engaging volunteers?
We all know the key to effective volunteer engagement rests with staff. Contact me anytime to explore ways Volunteer Frontier can provide cost-effective ways to help your staff fully and effectively utilize volunteers.
Tips - Staff & Volunteer Relations
Tell staff volunteers will never be used to replace staff (consider making it an agency policy). In these tough times, staff can fear being let go, especially if volunteers have high-level skills. Help employees see that expanded volunteer engagement can help improve their own job satisfaction and leverage their work.
Call capacity building volunteers something other than "volunteers." Give titles to volunteers for what they do - not for their pay grade. Call them consultants, webmasters, client service associates, communications specialists, development specialists, etc... Clear volunteer titles contribute to more of a team approach between volunteers and staff.
Provide staff training on volunteer engagement. Even an hour in-service training helps staff think about how they work with and empower volunteers through an ownership model philosophy.
Encourage staff to consider new ways to engage volunteers. With so many staff feeling they are over worked, pro-bono and leader volunteers might be able to lighten the load. Suggestion: Provide time for staffers to develop just one new volunteer assignment/role to try as a pilot.
Building Staff/Volunteer Relations by Ivan H. Scheier is a great book written by one of the fathers of volunteer engagement. It's available for sale from Energize as a PDF or in paperback. The publication provides a practical road map to building better relationships between volunteers and employees, along with providing useful planning tools. See also Scheier's article on the Energize website called Satisfy Staff First. Read much of the late Ivan Scheier's remarkable work in the field of volunteering by visiting the New Volunteerism Project website.
Contact me any time should you have questions concerning how to maximize your utilization of volunteers to save money, make money, and do more mission. Visit Volunteer Frontier, to find great resources and a full list of my services. Learn about the Volunteer Frontier approach to yield impressive returns for years to come. Lastly, visit my blog to get my take on trends and ideas in the field of volunteering.