I have many conversations with Volunteer Managers about the conscious or unconscious barriers that are created by paid members of staff to avoid involving volunteers. In order to develop strategies to overcome this I’ve thought long and hard about why this happens:
- Fear of job replacement
- Suspicion of volunteer motives
- Extra workload with very little recognition
- No personal experience or understanding of what volunteering is
- Assumption of poor quality of work from volunteers
During my training course on 5th July I’ll be going into detail about practical steps you can take to develop a more supportive atmosphere but you can see that understanding the issue can help identify solutions.
Fear of job replacement = clear explanations about the added value volunteers will bring
Suspicion of volunteer motives = information about the recruitment process and safeguards
Extra workload = include volunteer management in job descriptions and recognise it in supervisions
No personal experience = share information about how volunteering works and what volunteers hope to gain
Poor quality = information about skills required, training processes and monitoring of volunteers
So surprise, surprise, it comes down to communication. Are volunteers regularly included on your staff meeting agenda or just when there’s a problem? How wide is the staff group that are involved in the creation of new roles or the training of new volunteers?
Volunteers are brilliant and can really help deliver and develop your work…with the right support so can you find time to talk about it?