Shelter Management

Six Ways to Create a Sense of Community for Volunteers

Volunteers get satisfaction from feeling connected to staff, fellow volunteers and the organization they are serving—and satisfied volunteers tend to stick around longer and contribute more.

Here are six easy ways to create an environment that fosters a sense of community for volunteers.

  1. Name Badges. Require both staff and volunteers to wear name badges. This is the easiest way for people to learn each other’s names.
  2. Photos. Take a picture of every staff member and volunteer and display the photos (labeled with each person’s name) on a bulletin board or web page. This handy reference will reinforce people’s names and show how every person is an important part of a larger organization.
  3. Consistent Schedules. Having regular schedules allows volunteers to get to know and develop relationships with staff members—and vice versa. Volunteers and staff will look forward to seeing one another each week.
  4. Mandatory Hellos. Make it a part of your staff’s job description to greet volunteers when they see them. And consider taking their treatment of volunteers into account at staff yearly reviews.
  5. Feedback Loop. Make sure volunteers have a way to provide feedback to staff members. This could be an email address, Facebook group or suggestion box. And keep volunteers in the loop with upcoming events, policy changes and adoptions via a volunteer newsletter, bulletin board, email or Facebook.
  6. Dedicated Space. Create a central place at the shelter for volunteers to gather and store belongings. If you have limited space, a drawer for them to stash personal items and a bulletin board with sign-in sheets and updates will suffice.

More Volunteer Management Resources

Webinar: Leading the Way for Volunteer Programs 

Orienting Volunteers to a Culture of Feedback

Top 3 Tips for Volunteer Success 

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