Keeping in touch can be an issue, especially where volunteers are spread over various sites, plus some may volunteer out of office hours. Below are some methods for maintaining contact with your volunteers however NAVSM recognise that regular engagement with volunteers is key to a successful volunteer programme
Possible ways of maintaining contact include:
Newsletters can be a lot of work, so don’t set yourself up to fail. Be realistic about how frequently you can publish a newsletter and where possible try and enlist the help of volunteers to submit articles and put the newsletter together
These can be a good way of meeting up with volunteers, but you need to take your volunteer demographics into account. There is no point planning an afternoon cream tea, if most of your volunteers are students or in employment and so not available. Again, they can be a lot of work, so be realistic about frequency. Also, you need to be realistic about whether it is possible to meet the needs of a very diverse volunteer group with one event. It may be better to go for an annual event that appeals to the largest possible cross-section, e.g. Christmas dinner
This need not be face to face; methods will depend on volunteer demographics. Make use of email, for instance. You might also emphasise to volunteers that you have an ‘open door’ policy and encourage them to drop in for visits.
This is a very passive method of communication, but it does ensure that volunteers who work out of normal office hours and who may not have access to email are able to find out up to date information about volunteer activities. It also acts as a sort of informal advertising, raising the profile of volunteering in the Hospital.
These may be frequent or infrequent but they will be a rare opportunity (particularly on large, spread out sites) for volunteers to come together and share ideas, discuss any issues that they might have and get to know each other better.
Please speak to your local NAVSM hub for more information about engaging with your volunteers and communication