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The Recruitment and Organization of Volunteers page and the Management & Supervision page have been merged into one new page. Everything from ideas to help you work more efficiently to the latest in research on keeping volunteers happy and productive, as well as ideas, suggestions and hints to build volunteer recruitment capacity.

~ March 2008 ~

Mandatory Volunteer Service

The court ordered or mandated volunteer can be a joy or a problem.  The CYBERVPM listserv, for those who manage volunteers had a question recently about engaging this type of volunteer.  Many thanks to Linda Graff who answered this inquiry. She provides resources for managers of volunteers on this topic in her books and publications.  She responded to the questions, referring the individual to a series of articles she wrote for Volunteer Canada.  It is titled:   “Volunteering and Mandatory Community Service: Choice – Incentive – Coercion – Obligation.”  The series addresses the issues related to engaging mandated or court ordered volunteers.  It is also available in French.

 Address:  http://www.volunteer.ca/volunteer/pdf/MCSDP_ENG.pdf

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What You Call Their Job is Important

Job titles are critical in effective recruitment.  Even the short-term volunteer is attracted by an intriguing title for four hours of work on a weekend.  Titles are a reward.  Subway workers are called Sandwich Artists, as an example.

Those who provide long-term continuous service should have titles that reflect that level of commitment.  Not everyone is "about" a title, but it is a way to gain attention for a position.  “Volunteer” as someone’s title is just not doing it for the new volunteer.  Here are some options for common volunteer positions to give you and idea how you might revise the titles for your volunteer tasks and services.

Friendly Visitor

Options:  Social work aide, program service lead worker, case work aide

Camp Aide

Options:  Park Host, Greeter, Ranger Assistant, Wildlife Program Assistant,

Hospital Volunteer

Options:  Visitor Associate, Clinic Aide, Information Management Specialist, Head Clerk, Clerk Assistant

Food Bank Worker

Options:  Food Separation Specialist, Food Delivery Hand; 

Youth Leader

Options:  Child Advocate; Teen Advocate, Youth Advisor, Youth Aid, Coach

Dog Walker

Options:  Animal Specialist, Canine Helper,

Volunteer Plateau - Keeping Interest Alive

More and more volunteers are leaving their jobs because they have reached a plateau of experience.  It is more of the same thing every time the come to the work site.  One tactic to retain the interest of experienced long-term volunteers is to provide new opportunities for work.

The Volunteer Office could act as a “temp service,” providing temporary volunteers to various departments in the organization.  It begins with a thorough understand of the skills that are in the volunteer corps now.  Volunteers interested in such service might complete a form listing skills and experience.  You also need to be sure that they are willing to “drop” their normal assignment and go somewhere or do something he/she has never done.  Or work some additional hours to the ones currently being provided. A database is set up (good job for younger volunteer) to sort information based on those skills and experiences.  Then departments can request people for short assignments around specific tasks.

Best to field-test this with a cooperative department and volunteers who can flex. This will help work the bugs out. Then advertise internally to bring in the requests for volunteers.  This service can provide needed hands for areas of operation and those volunteers who are looking for new challenges might stay put longer with the challenge of new things to do to support the organization. 


By calling 1-800-VOLUNTEER in the U.S., individuals can be connected to their local volunteer center. This is a national interactive call routing system designed to get volunteers connected to people who can help them volunteer.

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