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Organizations ought to take this as a major challenge and practice all means possible to handle it to encourage people of all financial classes to engage in volunteerism. If possible, some of the issues the organizations need to handle include:
- Covering travel expenses of the volunteers from place to the other during operations
- Taking travel as part of the work in volunteering
- Providing meals to the volunteers
- Providing special equipment for safety for instance, boots
- Covering cost of the volunteer’s responsibilities for instance the parenting responsibility covering telephone and postage costs especially for the volunteers working from their homes
It is advisable for organizations to pay out-of-pocket expenses to the volunteers, for whom they give you receipts or tickets in case of any spending. A flat rate expense for instance a standard £2.50 for travel is important for the volunteer’s smooth operations (Flora, 1999).
Diversity is important in recruitment of volunteers for any organization. It involves valuing and recognition of variety in the search of volunteers. The aspect of variety celebrates the difference in people and this works to make the organization stronger. There many benefits emanating from having diverse volunteers in an organization including:
- Having a more welcoming face of the organization to the volunteers, general public and client groups
- Representation of the entire society
- Ability to respond to the organization’s needs as well as those of the local community
- Major benefits from diverse new ideas as well as fresh approaches from different people who are part of the organization including differing genders, ages, backgrounds, cultures and outlooks
- Attract customers in large numbers and people seeking the organization’s services (Linda, 2004).
These are the reasons why in any recruitment, an organization should look into diversity. Casting the net wider and reaching out to many volunteers from different backgrounds is advisable. It is for the common good of the organization in supporting its operations. The organization also needs to have a better plan of the recruitment process considering who the organization wants to involve in the program and why the choice. Clear support structures and policies need to be apparent in making such decisions regarding volunteering (Steve, 1998).
An induction process is necessary for all volunteers to give them a welcoming note into the organization. It helps them familiarize with the area of work that they will occupy for their period in the volunteering program. Some of the best ways to incorporate in induction process is engaging volunteer agreements to help them feel comfortable during the induction. It engages voluntary work outlines, helping them learn what they are expected to do and where they are expected to be in the period during which they will be volunteers in the organization (Theresa, 1995). The outlines detail specific work and tasks for the volunteer. They include contents similar to a job description of the staff in the organization. However, there is need to note that these outlines are not necessarily contracts of employment to avoid confusion arising from the volunteer program.
Prospective volunteers mostly worry about the treatments they receive once they join a particular organization. Therefore, the organization must always work to keep a welcoming environment in the organization. They also need to have a routine introduction of the volunteers in the organization to feel at ease and work without compromising the practices of the organization. It is useful in this case to have volunteer policies put in place for the volunteer program (Tracy, 1999). Policies enable volunteers within an organization to feel comfortable and secure in the organization’s work and provide a framework for the volunteer’s relationship with the organization. A volunteer policy must include equal opportunities policy as well as a disciplinary and grievance procedure for providing support to the volunteer program and enhance better and appropriate operations of the organizations. This gives volunteers a standard by which they have to abide to (Steve, 1998). It also provides ways they expect treatments as well as mechanisms appropriate for addressing major problems and handling the complaints. A volunteer policy is important in helping to allay major concerns at any stage of the organization’s operations including support mechanisms, expenses and insurance (Flora, 1999).
Volunteers should be supported at all costs from the supervision and managerial level to help the program work appropriately. They should not differ much with what the paid staffs get apart from the salary and stipend for other expenses. There are other volunteers in the organization that might need extra support probably because of their inexperience with the working environment. These volunteers should be assets of the organization because they grow to become the most qualified, influential and productive individuals in organizations because of their zeal to learn.
In supporting the volunteers, some of the major areas of concern include encouraging participation and encouraging recognition of the volunteers in the organization. Volunteers should always be encouraged to integrate efficiently with the operations of the organization (James, 1993). Cases of alienation should be avoided completely because they do not add up to the benefit of the volunteering program. Recognition of the volunteers’ efforts is of importance (Susan, 1990). The volunteers stay longer and contribute more to an organization when they perceive the treatments in the organization as fair on their side. The organization can practice the simplest recognition strategies including appreciation. This could be hosting social event and awarding the volunteers with certificates, proving the best learning opportunities and including discussions on matters of voluntary work as part of the organization’s annual review (Tracy, 1999).
Non-Profit Organizations need volunteers in their operations and the gist of the matter is having the best programs that suit volunteering and making it an attractive program to the volunteers who are willing to engage in the program. However, from what we learn, there is evidence that volunteering faces challenges on the part of the organizations as well as the volunteers themselves. These are the barriers of an effective volunteer program. Organizations are best suited to find ways of dealing with the challenges to perfect the program. They also are equipped and have all the resources enough to handle all challenges and make the volunteering process better. Taking note of the volunteer’s grievances is ideal in all cases to help solve some of the issues that bring down their zeal to continue participating in the program. Motivation in terms or incentives and other better approaches should be the root of any plans to salvage a collapsing volunteer program in an organization. Best induction process, best recruitment process and policy implementation are some of the few areas that organizations need to open up and handle appropriately. The idea of making an effective program is having the volunteers satisfied even at a small cost to the organization. Since non-profit organizations operate differently and they involves their practices in varying fields, there is no single approach that can apply to all organizations, the best thing is for the specific non-profit organizations to come up with best practices and approaches in developing their own effective volunteer program.
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