I'm not just talking about those treasured relationships with the volunteers themselves. I'm talking about building and nurturing relationships with volunteers, staff who supervise volunteers, upper management and possibly - dare I say - politicians who support your program (or even those that don't).
If you take the time to get to know these key people and work on building and nurturing those relationships you will reap amazing benefits, plus its fun and you may even make a few good friends in the process.
Volunteers need to be valued, and by valuing the person that they are and recognizing that each and every one of them has something to give, you validate their existence in your organization. I have an inquisitive nature which is quite helpful as I naturally want to learn
about people, their families, how they got to this part of the country and what they have a passion for. We send out birthday cards, call if they're under the weather and always make contact with them if there is a death in the family. It only takes a few minutes to make a phone
call or drop a card in the mail.
Now for the others… Check in with staff and find out if this partnership with a new or seasoned volunteer is working - thank them for being a great supervisor of those volunteers assigned to them, but be honest. Thank them only if they genuinely are a great
supervisor of the volunteers. If they need help in a pinch, give it to them…go out of your way to help them out…why not? It feels good and makes the program look good. Have you made friends or enemies with upper management? It's much easier to get what you need to do the job if you have nurtured relationships with the managers in your organization. They (hopefully) want what is best for the organization and want to look good, so the volunteer program
will be a reflection on them and the organization. Politicians…it may be a 'no-no' in your situation, but I think it's important to back the champions who support your program…be careful in this area - enough said.
In his book The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, Deepak Chopra writes, "Nurturing relationships is the most important activity in my life." Make it the most important activity in your life!
By Kim Sanecki.
Reprinted from Turn Your Organisation Into A Volunteer Magnet, 2nd edition (ed. Fryar, Jackson & Dyer) 2007
For the complete copy of Turn Your Organisation Into A Volunteer Magnet go to