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On this page are ideas to help you work more efficiently with volunteers. There are tips on recruiting, engaging, coordinating, and managing the work of volunteers.

~ May 2011 ~


Teens can be the best volunteers in the world and the most challenging. If you teen recruitment is lagging or you are thinking of engaging young people, here are some quick tips.

1.  Have jobs that are fun.

2.  Show how teens can use skills they already have.

3.  Show pictures of teens having fun.teen boy on skateboard

4.  Connect the volunteer job to career or college experiences.

5.  List altruistic reasoning for volunteering.  It will appeal to at least 50% of teens.

6.  Don't be too frivolous.  (Turns off some female teens.)

7.  Emphasize the usefulness of the job.  (This appeals to some male teens.)

8.  Stress individual values (Uniqueness.)

9.  Not all jobs are suitable for teen volunteers.


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I belived that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

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Ask yourself the following questions when confronted by poor performance:

1. Is the volunteer physically and mentally capable of doing the job? If not, help the volunteer get another job. No amount of motivation will overcome an inability to do the job.
2. Does the volunteer know what he/she is supposed to be doing? If not, review job descriptions, standards and objectives with the volunteer.
3. Does the volunteer have the right tools and equipment? If not, provide them. If money is tight, ask the volunteer to help with inexpensive solutions-they will often be surprisingly creative.

4. Is the physical working environment adequate?

a. Is it warm or cool enough?
b. Is the noise level too high?
c. Is there enough space for the working tools and for working?

If not, fix the problem. Here again, your volunteers may be able to      help.
5. Does the volunteer know how to do the task? If not, arrange for training.
6. Does the volunteer remember how to do the task? If not, arrange for refresher training or reference materials. Particularly for jobs done very rarely, job aids and reference materials are more cost-effective than re-training.

7. Is the volunteer punished in some way for doing the job?
a. Is there another activity that is more rewarding?

For instance, if every time your volunteers call in to report, you dump work on them, they will soon stop calling.

If so, try to eliminate the punishment.
8. Is good performance recognized and reinforced? If not, institute rewards. Be careful, however, you don't start something you can't carry on.

Volunteers can and generally want to help with problems. Let them help you. They actually do the jobs and often have figured out a better way to do them.


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START JUNE 20, 2001

Professional development classes in the engagement of volunteers and evaluation and recognition are part of Portland State University's Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Program start June 20, 2011. The totally online classes draw students from across the US and Canada. The summer session at PSU includes a 2 credit class on Recruiting Volunteers; and 2 credit course on Evaluation and Recognition of Volunteers.

The recruiting class helps students hone skills in planning, needs assessments, advertising and promotion, marketing, screening, and organizing a volunteer recruiting team. Assignments are practical and immediately useful. The Recognition and Evaluation of Volunteers reviews techniques to evaluate the overall program for volunteers and individual volunteers. New recognition techniques are discussed.

Interactive learning encourages students to apply assignments to real situations in his/her organization. Classes can be taken for a grade or pass/fail and are upper level. Join your colleagues from around the country to gain skills to enhance your administrative skills.

For more information and registration visit Portland State University online.



Enroll Now

starRecruiting Volunteers (8 weeks)

starEvaluation and Recognition of Volunteers (8 weeks)

Online classes in Engaging and Leading Volunteers Leading to a Certificate

For more information contact Portland State University:



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