Planning for Volunteer Management
In spite of all the changes, we know from CLO’s 2004 Economic Value of Literacy Volunteers survey that approximately half of the community literacy agencies in Ontario have done some planning to meet the changing environment, and even greater numbers of agencies would be doing further planning if time and resources were available.
Staff and board members of Literacy Agency ABC were becoming increasingly aware of the changes in the voluntary sector environment. Over the past several years, they had noticed a decline in the number of volunteers. At the same time, staff and volunteers witnessed an increase in demand for volunteer services, particularly in the areas of small group instruction and technological support. As the Chair of the Board said, “It feels like volunteers are trying to do more than ever before.”
At the suggestion of the Executive Director, Literacy Agency ABC decided to engage in a strategic planning process as a way to strengthen and focus their volunteer management program. As a result of the strategic planning, staff and board members identified one of their key priorities for the upcoming year to be increasing their small group programs. Their goal was to have two weekly small group programs operational by the same time the following year, one of which would focus solely on employment or workforce outcomes. They also determined that they needed to develop a website to help increase awareness within the community about literacy and about the agency.
Imagine taking a trip into a foreign land without a roadmap. You would quickly become lost and frustrated. The same thing can happen in an organization. Planning is the roadmap that provides direction for the organization. It allows staff and volunteers to be more focused, efficient and effective. Planning also empowers your organization to find and seize opportunities, think differently about how to recruit and manage volunteers and to evaluate how successful the agency has been with its volunteer management program.