One of the things that I believe has been missing from this organization, possibly since it’s inception, is a formal volunteer management program. It is something that while crucial for a non-profit organization like ours, it also can easily be forgotten or not created because a) you’re so busy just making sure you’ve got all the basics covered and can pay your bills and b) it can be daunting to anyone without any volunteer management experience.
Luckily, the IGDA1 has quite a few volunteers who have a lot of experience in the non-profit sector and in volunteer management in some form another. For my part, I have been managing volunteers for over two decades and taken courses in creating a volunteer management program. This is why I know that it is essential for this association to develop, adopt, and maintain a full volunteer management program that assists every facet of the organization. This should be a program that is based off basic principles and has a foundation based on the three R’s of volunteer management: recruitment, retention, and recognition.
This program would need to address the basic how’s and why’s that people come to this organization and want to become a volunteer. This would create more formalized processes for bringing volunteers into the organization at all levels and making sure all programs, events, and services get the right volunteers in the right places.
This section of the program would ensure that volunteers are properly recognized and appreciated for all their hard efforts. Without volunteers this organization would be nowhere and would not able to function on a day-to-day basis and so we need to make sure our volunteers feel valued and recognize them on a consistent basis.
Doing the above two properly, plus adding in professional development, growth opportunities, a variety of positions, and other key items would ensure the retention of volunteers in this organization. Long-term, passionate volunteers help increase not only our volunteer base but our membership base as well. They also serve as a way to provide consistency for members and increase the longevity and outreach of this association.
By building on a program that has those three areas as its foundation and includes standard best practices for creating a volunteer management program, we can look forward to a long and healthy life for this association.