October 2022: Coordinator Roles, Volunteer Cooperation, and Recruitment | Track It Forward

October 2022: Coordinator Roles, Volunteer Cooperation, and Recruitment

Written by Jordan Galerkin

October Monthly Recap graphic with icons depicting coordinators, cooperation, and recruitment.

Recap for October 2022

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Facebook community this past month!

Volunteer Management

Volunteer Coordinator Roles and Training

Volunteer Coordinator roles and responsibilities aren’t always clear, but it’s important to define these within your organization and with your manager. Coordinator duties may differ depending on the department you’re in and if you’re a salaried or hourly worker. Some organizations also have Volunteer Managers that oversee the Volunteer Coordinators, which can be helpful to have a supervisor that is aligned with goals specific to volunteerism. Another way to grow within your role is to complete some volunteer coordinator training. Often, training programs can be found through local associations and nonprofit networking groups. Take a look at the comments below to see how other coordinators are trained and organized.

Facebook post stating:

Comments from the group

  • “If you’re not a member already, try NHPCO (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization). They do a mentor mentee program that I found hugely helpful.

  • “We have a great group of volunteer engagement professionals at the Georgia Association for Volunteer Administration, Inc.!”

Add your own thoughts here!

Facebook post stating:

Comments from the group

  • If an organization doesn't have their own Volunteer Manager or Director, I most often see it lumped under Development or occasionally HR.”

  • “We have a Volunteer Coordinator Director and she's amazing. She's encouraging, keeps us in compliance, motivates us, trains us on best practices, is a liaison with leadership and reports back on our progress to our administrators. I want to be like her when I grow up.”

  • "My direct supervisor is the Marketing Director and over her is the VP of Marketing and Development."

See all of the comments here!

Facebook post stating:

Comments from the group

  • “I am in the development department and salaried. This position used to be in programs but was switched before I was hired. Yes, I am a manager.”

  • “Currently I am in our support (similar to a programs) department as that department has the most established volunteers and this is a new role for my current organization…I am the Volunteer Coordinator as I do not do daily managing volunteer tasks - I do larger organizational wide volunteer tasks, and support those that do the daily tasks.”

  • "I am a volunteer coordinator, and part of the development department. Previously, the title for this position was: Volunteer Director. I am hourly." 
  • “My job title is technically Development Coordinator & yes I am salaried.”

Read more comments here!

Volunteer Cooperation

Incorporating New Policies for Volunteers

It can be difficult for volunteer coordinators to incorporate new policies into their volunteer program. Existing volunteers may be set in their ways and resistant to change, especially when the new policies are asking something additional of them. It’s important to listen to volunteers’ concerns about a new policy, but also to explain the importance of it and how it will improve the volunteer program overall. Some examples from our coordinator community include volunteer uniforms and using time tracking software to log hours.

Facebook Post stating: Comments from the group

  • “I would start by asking why they aren't using it and stress the importance for the organization to know when volunteers are there and how many hours are being given.”

  • “How were hours tracked previously, if at all? Do they vary, or if they are consistent would you consider the automatic logging of hours based on scheduled shift durations? If you're asking volunteers to start a new habit it usually helps to offer both a carrot and the rationale for it - what are the benefits to them, to you, to the organization, to your mission and beneficiaries?”

  • “There might be local volunteer initiatives via the mayor's office as we have in New York.”

  • “We just provide an iPad and ask them all to sign it for a shift, we use Track it Forward so the sign in sheets are easy. Most of them do. If they don’t we have one person that checks it during the event. We also sign them out at the end of the night. We have anywhere from 20-40 volunteers at an event. It really takes very minimal time and effort.”

  • We incentivized the process, and it has helped. All volunteers who turn in their hours by a certain date each month are entered into a drawing of a swag bag… I also send out a weekly volunteer newsletter, and there's always a reminder right at the top of the email the week that hours are due.

Add your own thoughts here!

Facebook post stating:

Comments from the group

  • “Some people are very particular on clothing. Color, material, the way it feels on their skin. They want to feel comfortable volunteering. If you make it mandatory you may lose some volunteers BUT if it’s a safety or strategic decision then, they will have a choice to make. Could there be another color option? Could they wear a color hat, apron or lanyard instead? Good luck!!”

  • “In the shelter setting: to identify staff from volunteers from community service From the public. If your kennels are walk-through to the public you don't want the public thinking they can go in and take out a dog alone, because they see someone else doing it.”

  • “I got an uptick in volunteers wearing their shirts after I started saying, “T-shirt’s are not a requirement, but we like it when you wear them because we can identify you as part of our team quicker if we need assistance with something,” during orientation. Volunteers like to be of assistance.”

  • “Does your organization have a volunteer manual? If so, you may want to revise the uniform policy and volunteer agreement. If not, you might want to consider bringing it up at your next company meeting. Check out this article by Track It Forward for some ideas.”

See all the comments here!

Volunteer Recruitment

Unique Ways to Recruit Volunteers

If your volunteer program is like most, you’re probably always looking for new volunteers. When it comes to recruiting, there are a variety of ways to recruit in person and online. Some unique options that you may not have considered include inactive volunteer lists and court-ordered volunteers. Lists of inactive or former volunteers can be used to conduct outreach in case they’re interested in returning. For example, students may have left the area temporarily for school but may have time to volunteer when they return to the holidays. You can reach out to these inactive volunteers via email or phone with a prepared volunteer letter or script! Court-ordered volunteers are those who are required to complete a certain amount of community service as a court sentence. You can reach out to your local probation office to see about getting placed on a list of organizations that accept volunteers. See what our coordinator community has to share on these subjects below.

Facebook Post stating:

Comments from the group

  • “…When I started in my position, I used it as an opportunity to re-engage former volunteers by introducing myself. I called a lot of them individually to get a sense of who they are and why they hadn't volunteered lately.”

  • “A letter of introduction is a great way if you're new. Also preparing for the new year ahead is another [topic] I use or combine them.”

  • “I love the idea of a letter with a small note in handwriting at the bottom from you like “looking forward to meeting you sometime!” Or “thank you for all the time you’ve given to our org over the years / would love to reconnect” and then a follow up phone call a week or two later. Give them time to process it first and it’ll keep the phone conversation shorter but you still get that personal connection.”

Add your own thoughts here!

Facebook post stating:

Comments from the group

  • “You may have been placed on a list at a local or county probation office (USA). To place our CS workers we have contracts with the City or County court outlining what we will offer and they approve us. It’s important to touch base with them before your program gets too big.”

  • “…We have been seeing a big increase in juveniles that need community service work both for the city and the county. We can only use them on Tuesday afternoons. I have had to turn some away.”

  • “At my org I accept court-ordered community service hours as long as they don’t have particular offenses and can come in during the day when we need more help.”

  • “We do accept community service hours but also depending on the offense. Some of ours are just the best while they are with us but we know they likely won’t be long term volunteers which is okay as our program and events where we need volunteers are more sporadic anyway.”

See all the comments here!