We have thousands of options when it comes to deciding how to spend time. There’s hanging out with family and friends, cheering on a favorite sports team, making money, perfecting a hobby, eating, etc. Yet, you have been blessed enough to have people giving up that time in order to volunteer for your event. Now, it’s time to make it worth their while. In order to do so, oddly enough, means investing your time into them. Volunteers are just as important as any other staff team member. By training volunteers for the job, it shows that they are a valuable member of the team. Remember that they are there because they do have a heart to serve, and being able to do so better will only increase the experience for them.
So, how do you go about training these wonderful people? The most important thing is to be thorough. So many leaders wait until the time of and train “on-the-fly”. They quickly show one time how to do the current task, and then when that is completed, begin to run through the next. By scheduling periodic training sessions, you can teach multiple people at once. The bonus is that you can go over the task as many times as needed, as well as being able to get their input as to bettering the process before implementing it and causing disaster. The more confidence and understanding they have in their duties, the better they will be able to execute.
And speaking of duties, not every person is meant for the same volunteer role. Some are more creative. Some are better with kids. Some are stronger. By displaying the roles needed for the upcoming event, volunteers can try and choose which ones they would be best suited for. And since you are in the midst of training, they will not only be able to perfect the role they wish, but also learn some other roles in case they need to step up there, too. If you don’t want everyone to try every role to see how they do, compile a list of the roles and the necessary attributes this person would have. While reading they might say, “That sounds just like me”, even though they originally were not intrigued by the role title.
In the end, it’s all about creating a wonderful experience for your volunteers that makes them want to come back. Out of the thousands of opportunities available every minute of the day, they have chosen you. Now it’s your turn to choose them by making them feel empowered and valued in your organization. If you do that, you will reap the rewards of an effective and dedicated volunteer army.