Working in the voluntary sector
Working in the voluntary sector

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Working in the voluntary sector

Week 2: Working with volunteers

Introduction

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the voluntary sector, and many organisations would not be able to operate without their help and support. People volunteer in many roles, including being a trustee, or helping with operational activities such as assisting in a charity shop, fundraising, organising events, gardening, administration, caring for elderly people or children, and so on.

Last week you explored what roles mean in the context of work and volunteering, as well as in other settings. This week you will find out why and how volunteers are recruited and how they are retained – how organisations and groups attempt to motivate volunteers and keep them volunteering.

People often stay in paid work because they are dependent on the wages, but for volunteers non-financial reasons come into play. Commitment to a cause or an issue is important, but there are many other factors too.

You might have relevant experience that you can draw on this week – perhaps of being recruited as a volunteer or of having recruited volunteers yourself. If you are considering applying for a volunteering role, then this week will help you to understand the recruitment process, and give you a sense of what to expect as a volunteer.

Now watch Julie Charlesworth introduce this week.

Download this video clip.Video player: volb2_week2-640x360.mp4
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Transcript

JULIE:
Welcome to Week 2. Last week you reflected on what your organisation does and your own role within it. This week you’ll focus on the important contribution of volunteers in your organisation, including how to work with volunteers and how your organisation manages them.
You might approach these topics as a volunteer yourself. I volunteer for the SPAB, where I look after their secret courtyard garden. Key issues include how to inspire and recruit volunteers to your organisation and how to induct, train, and retain volunteers.
A big part of retention is motivation. Many discussions about motivation at work are about pay, and this doesn’t apply to volunteers. So how does your organisation motivate and keep volunteers? In fact, retention of volunteers is one of the biggest challenges for organisations.
End transcript
 
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By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • understand why organisations and other groups need the help of volunteers
  • describe the different methods used to recruit volunteers
  • describe why induction is important
  • understand how organisations motivate and retain volunteers.
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