Sustaining volunteer involvement

Sustaining a volunteer's involvement in your organisation is beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • It is likely to provide a better service for your clients, who may be unsettled by constant    changes in personnel
  • It is cost effective, saving on recruitment, training and other costs of involving new volunteers
  • It gives the volunteer time to become fully competent with any new skills learned
  • It increases a sense of team working

Retention for it's own sake, however, is not necessarily an indicator of success.  Volunteers move on for all sorts of reasons and to equip them with the necessary skills and confidence to do this, is a valid aim for some organisations, particularly those who may involve volunteers from socially excluded groups.

Strategies for retaining volunteers

  • Ensure everyone in the organisation knows why you involve volunteers
  • Ensure staff know exactly what the volunteers will be doing
  • Have a clear volunteer policy
  • Ensure that there is a thorough induction process
  • Use role descriptions and only make changes after consultation with the volunteer
  • Give regular time for supervision
  • Get to know your volunteers
  • Make sure you have ways of supporting volunteers who want to take on new responsibilities
  • Plan ways to recognise and reward your  volunteers
  • Have a training programme
  • Involve volunteers in decision making