Traditionally, many volunteer programs have organized services around the continues-service volunteer-those who serve on boards, in museums, church school teachers, those who’ve lead you youth clubs, etc. Jobs are created for them, training is created to meet their long-term needs, and motivational activities are used to enhance their retention over time. But what about the episodic or short-term volunteer? Here are six steps to developing an episodic volunteer program.
- The Needs Assessment: A needs assessment for the episodic volunteer program should include but not be limited to identifying the current quality and quantity of service by episodic volunteer in the last three to five years and surveys identifying areas in which episodic volunteers may be helpful.
- The plan: Establish a plan to accomplish the task. This includes setting an overall goal and smaller objective statements that describe the steps to implement the episodic volunteer program. The episodic planning team should include current continuous-service volunteers, paid staff, former episodic volunteers, and community
- Volunteer Roles: The primary task for the planning team is to identify new jobs that can be performed on a short-term basis and/or to redesign traditional volunteer jobs so that they can be more appropriately assigned to the short-term volunteer. The development of the roles of the episodic volunteer includes gathering information from staff and other volunteers about specific tasks that can be accomplished by those giving short-term service. Episodic volunteers need clearly defined parameters for their jobs.
- Recruitment: Here, we can apply the 4P’s of marketing- product, promotion, price, and placement. First is the one-to-one or in-person method. Studies have reinforced the fact that the majority of people become volunteers “because someone asked them.” The second recruiting technique involves a person asking a group. Telephone contact is the third recruiting technique. The fourth method of volunteer recruitment is the mass appeal. This includes such things as flyers, print and media ads, billboards, brochures, window displays, or want ads.
- Screening: Screening, both continuous and episodic volunteers includes written job descriptions, applications, and interviews. Each organization must decide on the extent of the screening for volunteers. Also, it is good practice to review screening procedures every two years.
- The recruiting team: The recruiting team could ease the burden of work on the volunteer director or program manager. The team can set numerical targets for recruiting, design, the screening process, review job descriptions, and design and carry out advertising and recruiting strategies. Most importantly, the recruiting team must manage its recruiting effort within the constraints of the resources available: It must have a budget.
Tell us in the comments how you plan on implementing short-term volunteers in to your organization?