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Top 10 Reasons:

1. Increase effectiveness of volunteer contributions: In order to be truly effective, volunteer resources must be appropriately supported and managed. Volunteer performance, as well as the consistency and quality of service to clients, donors and other constituents is greatly improved when:

  • Needs are assessed
  • Roles are clearly defined
  • The volunteer is appropriately matched to the position(s) available
  • Ongoing communication and support exists
  • There are policies and procedures in place
  • Volunteers are recognized for their efforts
  • Quality assurance and feedback mechanisms are in place.

2. Improve service and engagement with clients and donors: The effective recruitment, training and placement of volunteers enable increased service delivery to, and engagement with clients and donors. Specifically recruited, well-screened and well-trained volunteers complement the efforts of staff and may be the vital link between the organization and the many hundreds or thousands of clients, donors or other constituents with whom staff cannot be in regular contact.

3. Risk Management: The Volunteer Engagement Professional is directly responsible for implementing screening and placement policies that protect the clients, organization and volunteers themselves from risk. A critical function of volunteer management is to ensure that the vulnerabilities of both clients and volunteers are considered, and that every conceivable, reasonable action is take to prevent either party from coming to harm, prior to placement. Ongoing training, supervision and support of volunteers, as well as regular communications with clients and other constituents, are key components of managing risk.

4. Reduce Liability: The threat and severity of potential liability are greatly reduced when the organization has a mechanism to ensure that volunteers are well-trained, supervised and supported, and clearly understand their responsibilities and boundaries of their position. The recruitment of board/governance volunteers is less difficult when personal and organizational liability is reduced through risk management policies and procedures. The Volunteer Engagement Professional is accountable for several measurements of due diligence in regard to volunteer-led or assisted program delivery.

5. Increase Organizational Cross-Functionality: The Volunteer Engagement Professional is often in the unique position of bring people and programs together. These specialists are often the link to other services, programs internally and to other organizations externally. It is most often the Volunteer Engagement Professional who is aware of all organizational programs, needs and volunteer opportunities. This bridging effect has the capacity to reduce duplication and identify program gaps.

6. Increase Community Support: Volunteer activity is a reasonable quantitative and qualitative measure of the community’s support for the organization. Coordinated and well-organized voluntary efforts ensure that programs are both responsive to and reflective of the community. Increased volunteer activity and understanding of organizational priorities has the potential to increase funding and other kinds of community support.

7. Develop Organizational Ambassadors: Volunteers who are deeply engaged with the organization will not only stay involved for a longer period of time but will be effective recruiters and ambassadors for the organization and for the volunteer movement in general. The Volunteer Engagement Professional initiates and takes responsibility for creating a positive and mutually beneficial volunteer experience.

8. Improve Volunteer/Staff Relations: Volunteer/Staff relations are significantly healthier when a Volunteer Engagement Professional serves as the conduit to understanding and cooperation. With such a specialist to help clarify volunteer-related issues, training practices and boundaries, and to resolve conflict and confusion, staff are more likely to feel supported and able to dedicate their attention to their area of specific expertise.

9. Engage a Unique Skill Set: The competencies, responsibilities and accountabilities of a Volunteer Engagement Professional include:

  • Planning – program, event, fundraising or administrative (and often a combination)
  • System development/maintenance
  • Marketing of volunteer resources
  • Screening and training volunteers and occasionally, staff
  • Supervision of volunteers and staff
  • Motivation and recognition when interfacing with other staff
  • Financial management
  • Public and community relations
  • Database or other type of record-keeping
  • Ongoing professional development
  • Rarely are other organizational staff positioned to assimilate this unique variety of skill sets and performance targets into their current workload.

10. Promote community development and growth: The effective management and promotion of voluntary action facilitates community growth. Collaboration, interaction and social responsiveness are fostered through the success of volunteerism. The Volunteer Engagement Professional helps a community focus on its capacities to resolve social problems and in this way can become an agent of community development, furthering core Canadian values of reciprocity, compassion and diversity.

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