Coordinator podcasts, orientation for event volunteers, and volunteer no shows | Track It Forward

Coordinator podcasts, orientation for event volunteers, and volunteer no shows

Written by Melissa Davis

Recap for September 7th - September 19th

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Facebook community this week! 

Coordinator podcasts

As a volunteer coordinator, you are constantly seeking resources and best practices to improve your program. This week, our coordinators shared their recommendations for podcasts that might be beneficial for others to explore! 

Comments from the group

  • “I found one called The Engaged Volunteer Podcast on Anchor.”

  • “Time and Talent is great!”

  • “The Volunteer Guy is pretty good. It focuses on church volunteering, but I’m able to use some of his stuff. I searched for volunteers in podcasts and have found quite a few.”

  • “Not a podcast but great listening. Dana's Priceless Advice for Leaders of Volunteers”

Check out all of the comments here!

Orientation for event volunteers

For most programs, volunteer orientation is a crucial step for onboarding new volunteers before they begin their role. Depending on the organization, there might be a distinction between one-time volunteers and ongoing volunteers. For one-time events, some organizations may not require a formal orientation or may change the format to be event-specific. This varies by organization so coordinators will need to decide what works best for their program. 

Comments from the group

  • “We host monthly orientations for new volunteers. Until they have attended their training(s), their application remains "in process" and they can't sign up for shifts. Our onboarding process is the same for all volunteers. We have the link to the application on our website along with the dates for the next orientations, but we explicitly state that orientations are invite-only. So unless they have submitted their application and been sent a formal email invite, they can't attend.”

  • “I host orientation via Zoom 1-2 times per month, but also have a pre-recorded version I send people who are doing a one-off thing or need to be approved before the next orientation.”

  • “We don’t really for one time folks. If they’re gonna be a one time, but a lot of our events are covered with current volunteers.”

  • “I work with event-only volunteers (about half are high school aged youth.) Since they are coming in for a three hour shift, we do not have a formal orientation process…”

Add your own thoughts here!

Volunteer No Shows

For most organizations, volunteers serve in critical roles for daily operations. If a volunteer cancels at the last minute or doesn’t show up, it could negatively impact other volunteers, staff, and clients. It’s important to establish clear expectations so volunteers know how to handle last minute cancellations and understand the potential consequences of multiple call offs. 

Comments from the group

  • “In pre Covid times, we asked for 24 hours notice for front desk roles and events. You can also ask that volunteers try to get their shifts covered. Good luck, this is stressful!”

  • “Yup - if it is a day of they have to call and talk to someone to let them know. I made this recently, so I sent an email out with the new policy and told them to read and respond to let me know they read it. I have only a few so I did it that way, if you have more and/or when you on-board I'd have them sign a form.”

  • “So our volunteer positions don't sound quite as critical as yours, but our procedure is:

    • 1 no call/no show or less than 24 hour notice = they get a "we missed you!" email and a reminder that they need to give notice and how to do so.

    • 2nd no call/no show = slightly sterner email with a reminder that at 3 they are suspended from volunteering.

    • 3rd no call/no show = notified that they are suspended from volunteering until they meet with me, they are removed from future shifts and their ability to self schedule is disabled. The onus is on them to schedule the meeting with me. The thought is if they can get the meeting scheduled and show up for it it shows that they are committed and it's possible, but they might have some barriers (childcare challenges, transportation, etc.) which we work through; maybe there's a less vital/more flexible volunteer shift that's a better fit for them, maybe volunteering is easier during different times of the year, etc..The caveat is if they're sick we definitely don't want them to come in, but if they're sick 3 times without being able to give 24 hour notice that's still reason to have a conversation.”

Join the conversation here!