There is the in-person, group and the phone screening. Every organization has their own method and you have to figure out what the best method is for the culture of your organization.
I am a firm believer of the in-person orientation. It has its challenges since my territory includes 20 counties, but I try to make it work for my schedule and theirs.
This is the first touch point that a volunteer is having with your organization and I believe the personalization of a one-on-one orientation can be a critical component in the success of an agencies retention rate.
I tell people when they come in for the orientation that my job as a volunteer manager is to connect people with opportunities in the community and if they decided the agency that I work for is a good fit for them — bonus!
But if not, that’s ok. Based on what the volunteer is looking for I can help make educated referrals for them to pursue an opportunity that would be a better fit.
My philosophy is I would rather spend that one hour with them to see if they are a match for us, and if we are a match for them, than to have them start, not enjoy it, and just stop coming.
I also learn so much from the volunteer in that time. Why do they want to volunteer? Why did they pick this agency? Do they have a personal connection to the agency? This information is invaluable in helping connect the volunteer with an opportunity in or outside of your organization. These personal connection stories are a gold mine to your agency communicator and fund development team in sharing the mission and the power of your agencies community impact with donors and other stake holders.
I have done thousands of interviews in my 13 years and I must admit, I still get excited for each one. Meeting someone new, wondering what sparked that interest to volunteer and how can I keep that spark going.