Saturday, January 14, 2012

But who is creating programs to keep volunteer spirit long term?

A recent article from Japan Times I posted on Twitter talked about the disaster "kick starting long dormant volunteerism".  @krobertory asked the question in the title above, which gave me pause.  If you are a disaster volunteer manager you have a challenge! Keeping your volunteers engaged after (or before) a disaster is that challenge.
I manage a Medical Reserve Corps and keeping them as busy as they want to be is my task.
In order to accomplish the question above I do the following:
  • Look at my volunteers capabilities (how much time can they really put in)
  • Ask them what they want to do (within reason)
  • Connect with others in our space (Public Health & Preparedness)
  • Put in the time to schedule and manage these events
  • Post articles that are about what we do on our FB page
Yes that's the big one, the time to manage events for your volunteers. Not the actual disasters, those are what its about, but it takes time to put training missions together,get the volunteers & answer their questions, get them there and report on it.

So what did I do for my volunteers this year to keep them interested and moving forward? 
14 missions (where they actually helped someone) 236 volunteers for 1,232 hours
12 trainings (one per month- where they learned something) 93 volunteers for 212 hours.

What do you do to keep your volunteers spirit up long term? We have a big job keeping the volunteer spirit alive long term.

Disaster Dave

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