Volunteers - How to Get Them, How to Keep Them

Helen Little has created a nice, although slim, book on how to manage volunteers. She breaks the task out into these sections:

* creating a specific task with start and end
* make sure task matches their interests
* make sure task has value
* write down instructions
* provide deadline
* have open time to task completion
* provide all supplies for task
* train the person
* have comfortable work environment
* follow up with the task
* give feedback
* show appreciation to the person

Helen provides tips on each stage here to help you get through it in a healthy way. For example, she says to recruit people individually, not en masse for a new task. Different volunteers will have very different needs, such as social networking, skill learning and recognition. Helen suggests you always praise publicly and criticize privately.

Finally, Helen provides two case studies that show a project done poorly, then a project done well. Both are real life situations and help to emphasize her points.

The book is helpful as far as it goes, but is very brief. There are other books which go into these tasks in much more detail. This is a good starting book for someone just learning the ropes, but most people will want a more thorough book in their library to handle a wider variety of situations.

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