Saturday, May 31, 2008

Volunteering: 2

I'm loving volunteering for Film Action Oregon, but in addition to doing something good, I'm also learning as a leader. This week during my 4 hours in the office I created a data base of volunteers for them. I combed through volunteer applications that have been collected over the past couple of years.

Here are a few things I learned/relearned this week

People want to be part of something they believe in or are interested in.
Lots of people volunteer to be part of this organization. Most of them are students, many are unemployed, some retired. Everyone, regardless of life circumstance CAN serve.

Communicate a need practically with detail and then connect with people who show interest. This has to be ongoing and a high priority in any volunteer dependent community.

Volunteers like to understand how the task they are doing fits in to the bigger picture. Don't apologize for giving them what feels like busy work, but help them understand why it matters. I spent 4 hours on data entry which is tedious, but I understood what the end goal was, so it felt useful.

Slow down. Real people with real lives are serving shoulder to shoulder with you. Take the time to care, appreciate, connect.

Volunteer information forms:
Alot of people use gmail.
Most people choose phone contact over email. This was shocking and convicting to me. Volunteers probably do at least deserve a phone call every once in a while...
Creative email addresses make me laugh, but this one made me curious... azure raven @ something... wish I was that interesting.
Ask questions so that you get the answer you really want. One of the questions on the form was "do you have any special skills that could benefit us?' Over half of these answers were silly...
and above all... please write legibally- your name and email address may be old news to you, but it's critical information for others.

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