While I love technology and am on Twitter, Facebook and of course Blogs nothing can replace a face to face interaction. Seeing each others physical outline, the timbre of their voice, the inflections when they speak showing humor or distaste, the look in their eye as they make a point.
Orientation of new volunteers in my opinion is too important to be left to a video (or old school - sitting at a desk reading a orientation manual) that they may or may not watch. It is not only orientation to the volunteer organization, but an orientation of you for them and them for you. During the orientation for my unit I introduce myself to each person as they come in for the evening. Once we start I outline the evening on a slide then the next slide simply says: In 5 minutes or less tell us:
- Your name
- why you are here
- whether you are a medical or support volunteer
- What city you live in (my MRC covers 2,000 sq miles with 39 cities)
Then I spend the next hour and a half covering how we as an organization got here what their place in the organization is. What we expect from them and what they can expect from us (actually I ask these questions out loud to get their reactions and weave them into the answers.) I talk about what we have done; what we hope to do with their help. And always preparedness! Then for the third time that night I tell them what they must do to complete processing (online FEMA Training).
Lastly, I thank them and send them on their way.
Seems like a lot of work after an already long day, but its worth it. Why? By time the evening is over, I have a room of 10-15 people that I know, who know me and because they are in the room with me and not on the other side of a glass screen they know I love my job and what WE are building together.
But one more thing they can't get at home...They are now connected (even just a little bit) with 10-15 people who think like they do and feel part of something bigger than themselves. Thoughts?