People in charge of volunteering in Fundació Nostra Senyora dels Àngels, Fundació Marianao, Associació Juvenil Esquitx and Aacic tell us which are, in their oppinion, the keys for a good management of volunteering:
To define the volunteers’ profile
To establish a reference person
Reception and training
Integration and Motivation
Involvement of the professional team
1. To define the volunteers’ profile
Prior to starting the selection process, it is necessary to clearly define what is the required volunteer’s profile, and to establish a starting point which allows us to understand its function and importance.
2. To establish reference persons
Once the needed profile is defined, it’s time to determine reference persons for the newcomers. It is important to have a well-trained coordinator knowing exactly which role and functions each of the volunteers has.
3. Reception and training
Volunteers need a reception and an initial supporting task to allow them to get to know the organization and its members. In this sense, it is also important to have an internal training plan to place the newcomer within the entity and within its values and mission.
4. Volunteering Plan
A good management of volunteering requires to provide the organization with a Volunteering Plan which functions as a reference point and thus to avoid improvising. This document will have to summarize the goals the volunteers will aim at, the sphere of activities and the tasks to develop. It also has to take into account the appropriate training for the required tasks. Furthermore, it will have to set out the guidelines of an organized process regarding reception, assistance, supporting, evaluation and, finally, termination, when the relation between association and volunteer may come to an end. This Volunteering Plan must be included in the general project inspiring all of the organization.
5. Integration and motivation
Providing channels for participation and decision-making will allow the volunteer to assume a greater responsibility and authonomy, feeling part of the organization’s own gearing and getting committed with the entity and the people which it addresses. In addition, it will help to increase his/her motivation.
To count on a team of motivated volunteers is definitely key. That’s why it is necessary to set up a welcoming and encouraging environment. An atmosphere that fits the volunteer’s needs, expectations and interests, which in turn are meant to be harmonized with the association’s activities.
6. Involvement of the professional team
Everybody within the organization must show a welcoming and motivating attitude towards the newcoming volunteers. This should be done in a coordinated and comprehensive way, from the directing positions to the one being in charge of volunteering and further on to the educators. It is a good sign if the association’s workers themselves request and find the role of a volunteer in developing a specific task necessary.
In order to set up a good relationship between volunteers and workers, the organization must be transparent in its actions and offer an appropriate framework of communication.
It is very important to acknowledge the task done by volunteers. A good opportunity to show that their work is highly appreciated is to give responsibility to those who prove they believe in what they do and have the skills required for responsible positions.