I received some questions and request for an expansion of this topic, so here goes!
The first thing to do (after recognizing there's an issue) is to make a plan.
Think of the categories that you have to audit; these are what I think are the defined areas:
2. System & Material Review
3. Gathering constituent opinions
4. Analyzing the data
5. Developing an action plan to make improvements
1. Planning - Write a plan and validate it with others in your chain of command and some trusted volunteers. Set a time line, and stick to it. This is important without a time line you could get mired in minutia and never finish.
2. System & Material review is pretty simple:
a. Recruiting - Look back at the recruiting that has happened; where/ how much time spent/ how many applicants did you get (Hint: if you don’t ask new applicants where they heard about you they won’t tell you)
b. On-boarding process (application through your filing system) – What does the application process look like? How do you file their paperwork? How do you make sure you have it all? Is it secured? This is also where you look at compliance? Are they trained to the correct level?
c. Orientation- how do they know they belong? What are they part of? There is a big push to do online orientations the volunteer can watch from home. I do not like that, I want to look at my new volunteers, I want them to see that I care about them and am invested in them.
d. Drill/Exercise/Training - What types of training is being offered? What type do the volunteers want? What is missing? How do you keep them in the fold and not have them disappear. More on this later
3. Ask the volunteers – use something like survey monkey. Ask them a mix of rated questions and open ended questions. Don’t worry about what they say, it’s about the program not you.
4. Now the hard part- analyze the information – what does it say? You really want to come up with answer to issues; below is an example issue from my turn around.
Multiple documentation pieces missing from hard copy files
Utilize the volunteer appreciation to catch these up
A new paper checklist was developed and matched to each file. This will be used in the future in order to keep all files correct
5. Fix it. Take the information you have collected and write a timed turn around plan. make sure you fix the front of the program first. No sense adding to the problem.
You probably have a lot of data, compose it into an executive report and present it (probably in PP) to your managers and the rest of your department. It is important that everyone know what you have to do to turn around the program.
It can be done, I took over a program that was only about 100 volunteers and dormant and in 2 years grew it to 400 volunteers and last year our volunteers served over 1,200 hours just on Public Health missions.
Go get em