This week is National Volunteer Week! National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers. Without volunteers’ dedicating their time and talent, many organizations simply would not exist.
Volunteers can be extremely helpful to any organization. They can help manage the workloads of other employees to make the work easier and less stressful for everyone involved. Volunteers can provide objective feedback and they can engage with locals to attract more attention to the organization or the community initiative.
Volunteers should be recruited with a specific role in mind. The recruiting organization should actively seek out people with the skills that their organization needs. Some tips to find the ideal candidate include:
- Be honest
- Recruit all year round
- Use a variety of recruitment techniques
- Reach out to the entire community
To better retain volunteers, the organization should show an interest in the volunteers and the project that they are responsible for. The volunteer program should also be well-organized and built in a way that values the ideas and suggestions provided by those who are volunteering. The benefits of their work should be explained to them and how it will better the organization or the community.
An example of an OMAFRA program that relies on volunteers is the Local Food First Impressions Community Exchange (FICE) program, which allows communities to gain a fresh perspective on how their local food assets are seen through the eyes of first-time visitors. FICE programs recruit a group of volunteers to act as visitors who are trained by OMAFRA staff to conduct the visit. Volunteers are crucial in this process, as their observations are recorded and presented to each community to later develop action plans from the gathered feedback. Click here to learn more about the FICE program.
To learn more about the roles volunteers play in organizations and how to recruit volunteers, check out these resources: