Inactive Volunteer Outreach, Appreciation Gifts, and New Coordinator Training | Track It Forward

Inactive Volunteer Outreach, Appreciation Gifts, and New Coordinator Training

Written by Melissa Davis

Recap for August 23rd - September 6th

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

Inactive Volunteer Outreach

It’s common at all organizations to have a certain level of turnover among volunteers.While some volunteers may formally resign, others may simply stop signing up to assist with certain events. As a new coordinator, it can be difficult to determine which volunteers should still be considered active and which ones should be removed from the list for new opportunities. 

Our coordinators shared their ideas for reaching out to previous volunteers just to touch base and see if they’d like future updates. In some cases, volunteers might wish to return in the future, but don’t currently have time available. 

Comments from the Group

  • “I think it's absolutely valid to email old volunteers and invite them back -even just to visit the space again might bring the joy back to them and get them hooked.”

  • “When I started, I called all former volunteers and met some for lunch. It’s worth a try.”

  • “I think it would be nice. People are looking for connections. Just a phone call saying "Hi, how are you doing? Just wanted to check in with you..." can lead to many nice things happening. The very least you will make someone feel special. I bet you will get some return volunteers too.”

  • “I think it would be appropriate to send an email introducing yourself as the volunteer coordinator and asking if they'd like to be added to your contact list for future opportunities.”

Check out all of the comments here!

Appreciation Gifts

Volunteer recognition is a key aspect of any successful volunteer program! While some organizations may not have a large budget available for gifts, there are low cost items that can be a fun alternative. Coordinators share their ideas for previous gifts that were well received at their organization. 

Comments from Others

  • “There is a way to make a mold of your logo, then melt chocolate into the mold. Bam: you have a chocolate bar with your logo on it. Another thing we have done is a notebook with our logo on it that says “I’m a volunteer, what’s your superpower?”. it’s a nice tiny notebook that clamps shut, has a pen that comes with it, and sticky notes inside. You could also look into getting a local business to donate free item coupons to your volunteer program (free frozen yogurt, etc) since you may not be able to do a gathering…you can give them a free experience.”

  • “Hand sanitizer has always been a hit, but I would say more masks would probably be appreciated! If it’s been a year they may not be in the best condition and we still have to keep using them.”

  • “The most appreciated gift we give our volunteers every year is a book of postage stamps at Christmas! It is unbelievable how much they like getting them.”

  • “We gave small packets of coffee, a coffee mug and a small packet of hand sanitizer.”

Add your own thoughts here!

New Coordinator Training 

It can be challenging to start a new position as a volunteer coordinator. In some cases, there may not be time for a formal transition with the previous coordinator. As some shared in the group, they were the first coordinator and had to create the program from scratch. For assistance getting started, look outside your organization for resource communities and networks of other coordinators. 

Comments from Others

  • “It depends on the organization! Some are better organized than others and will walk you through systems they already have in place and others will just throw you in the deep end.”

  • “When I took on the role our previous coordinator had recently left and I was filling in at the time. I didn't have a chance to shadow her. I just learned as I went. I created ways to recruit and interview volunteers. Tracking hours started once I took on the role.”

  • “I was shown the basics, but was pretty well just thrown in. They hadn't had a v.c. before, and the executive director only had time to do the minimum.”

  • “I walked in blind. I found a local volunteer administrator’s group and learned soooo much!”

Join the conversation here!