Volunteer vs. Staff Roles and Volunteer Mentoring | Track It Forward

Volunteer vs. Staff Roles and Volunteer Mentoring

Written by Jordan Galerkin

Banner depicting images representing volunteers, staff, and mentoring

Recap for April 11th - April 17th

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

Volunteer vs. Staff Responsibilities

If you’ve got a robust and dedicated team of volunteers, it makes sense to utilize them wherever possible for your organization’s activities. However, there may be some duties that only staff members can and should perform, due to training, skill sets, responsibility, or liability reasons. Our community has offered some suggestions of how to determine whether it’s appropriate to use volunteers for certain activities, especially within the realm of health care.

Facebook post stating:

Comments from the group

  • “I would ask what’s the purpose of having a volunteer go along? Companionship or navigating the health system? For me that would indicate whether it is a volunteer or career role.

  • “I used to be the activities and volunteer coordinator at an assisted living facility with a memory care unit. We didn’t use volunteers for this but the activities department drove the bus to appointments one day a week between certain hours and either that activities person or a staff member would accompany the resident to the appointment if the family wasn’t available. For us it was too much of a liability for a volunteer to do it.”

Add your own thoughts here!

Volunteers Mentoring Volunteers

Existing volunteers can be a great resource for new volunteers, whether it’s through official training, mentoring, or ‘shadow’ shifts. Yet sometimes it can be difficult to find existing volunteers that will take on this responsibility, especially if it is an extra task outside of their regular volunteering. Luckily, our volunteer coordinator community has some great advice on how to encourage and incentivize volunteers to take on a mentorship role!

Facebook post stating:

Comments from the group

  • “We have a [volunteer] leadership role that we recruit for…When I expanded the leadership role and asked our natural leaders to do it, many said no because they weren't interested in that type of engagement…I learned that if you want effective leaders and mentors, you have to be ready to nurture and support with that role and skills as they go along just like any other task you give a volunteer.”

  • “We have shadow leaders but I try to pick out top performers and ask them before scheduling, explaining what I am asking them to do, and tell them I chose them because they are great at XYZ and I would love new volunteers to have those skills too. Try picking out one or two current volunteers who are great at being a leader, and schedule volunteers only with them… Publicly praise them in newsletters/emails, offer to compensate shadow hours as 1.5x worth, etc. Also, with your new crop, really engrain that this is the procedure- they shadow someone, and eventually someone will shadow them, and set the expectation ahead of time.”

See all of the comments here!