What makes for a great volunteer experience?

Here are some of the key features of a great volunteer experience I had recently:

  1. A day of face-to-face training with lunch included. I felt confident to do the work after this training.
  2. A volunteer management database where I could log in and register for the shifts I wanted to work. I could also cancel shifts through the same portal if necessary.  I had control over my schedule and where I volunteered.
  3. A responsive volunteer manager. I emailed her when I needed support and got a same day response.
  4. A start-up kit of materials to support my work. This kit included an ID badge, resource materials, and other essential tools – all in a handy carry bag.
  5. An email newsletter. The newsletter shared experiences of other volunteers and made me feel part of a larger team, even though I often volunteered alone.
  6. A methodology that had been tested. The project involved surveys which had been pilot tested before the project got underway.  I knew that most of the kinks had been sorted out before I started.
  7. Lots of thank-you’s. This blog post was prompted by a recent thank you letter I received in the mail from the head of the organization I volunteered with. 

Do the volunteer opportunities at your organization have some of these key features?  If not, give me call – I’d be happy to help you improve your volunteers’ experiences.

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