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7 ways to encourage residents to volunteer (12 Jan 18)

Simple, but good advice from someone who knows

One step is to remove disincentives.

For people who haven’t volunteered before there can be misunderstandings and stereotypes that put them off giving their time.

They can assume that volunteering is just something done in a charity shop or a hospital, or that it’s just exploitative unpaid work.

Or they may think that people like them aren’t wanted. This could apply to young people, older people, people without experience or qualifications and members of minority ethnic communities.  They may believe that volunteering is a full time activity, or that once they start they won’t be able to back out.

Address these concerns in your recruitment material.

For a start, avoid simply saying ‘WE NEED VOLUNTEERS’ as a primary message. No one would answer a job ad that just said ‘EMPLOYEES WANTED’. People may not see themselves as volunteers, but they might identify with specific roles such as administrative support or a volunteer gardener.

You can also think about less tangible incentives.

What are the benefits of your roles for the volunteers who carry them out? Use them to ‘sell’ your opportunities. Why would someone do it? What do you have to offer? Will the role be fun, great work experience, challenging, sociable, and satisfying? These are the kind of motivations that bring people into volunteering.

Offering good training, reimbursing expenses so that volunteers aren’t out of pocket, explaining what the role will be like and what the volunteer will get out of it will all help encourage people to give their time for you.

To sum up, I would suggest that rather than think about incentivising volunteers you look at what you already have to offer.

If you believe that you can only attract volunteers through inducements, then you need to go back and think about the roles you are creating. If all you’ve done is put together the tasks no one in the office likes doing, then of course you’ll have trouble asking people to do them without pay.

Volunteer roles should always bring benefits for volunteers. We simply need to look beyond material rewards.

One other area worth considering is accreditation. Your roles may fit into NVQs or similar qualifications. This is something you could discuss with local providers.

If outside accreditation would not be suitable you could offer your own internal recognition – certificates to mark 100 hours given for example.



Our one day course, A step by step guide to volunteering can be run as an in house course.Email me at rod@rodlaird.co.uk



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Why not run an in house course? The price is fixed no matter how many attend. Email me at rod@rodlaird.co.uk

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