One of the complexities of supervising volunteers is the variety of situations the volunteers work.
When you are the overall manager and most volunteers are supervised by program staff.
- Have open door and always be a resource
- Have training for staff supervising volunteers and offer resource/tips often
- Email/communication with program staff
- Check with volunteer if they have the tools to do job; any obstacles; anyone to thank?
Supervising Short-term Volunteers
- Have a consistent contact person
- Keep in touch via email (photos, newsletter pdf)
- Encourage them to recruit a friend to replace them
Supervising volunteers for a small organization
- Greeting upon arrival and offer an opportunity to debrief before departure.
- Communicate to the volunteer how essential they are to the program and impact on the programs
- Make them feel like they are part of staff-conversations, invite to lunches.
- Provide staff with short and fun training on how to supervise volunteers
- If volunteers are working of-site, have them visit main site as part of orientation.
Volunteers who are at a distance or off site
- Building relationships with every volunteer with monthly meetings
- Frequent emails, phone call with volunteers
- Visit the volunteer site monthly to touch base with volunteers
- Have trainings at site
- Getting volunteers together who have same volunteer position
- Frequent acknowledgement of their work – thank you’s
- Go over responsibilities before they begin volunteering
The following were tips from participants on some of the special situations from a training on Supervising Volunteers led by Barb Tiggemann. The workshop was part of the Volunteer Impact Leadership Training Series co-sponsored with MAVA by Hands on Twin Cities and Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys.