Sunday, August 18, 2013

What happens when the volunteers quit coming

I was in Moore Oklahoma in June and the amount of volunteer help there was staggering as was the need.  But according to this article the volunteers have slowed.  But why is this happening? The need is there, and people don't stop caring.  I do not know, but it worries me that there is a need but not enough help.  So lets look at a couple of things we could do to help ourselves.
We know volunteers want to know what they are doing, who they are helping.  So if you are appealing for volunteers after a disaster make sure you are using SMART when advertising for volunteers to help.
  1. Specific - What is the project (who will it help- put a face on it)
  2. Measurable - What do you expect to be accomplished and how will it fill a need for the face in #1
  3. Attainable - It has to be doable with an end point even if it is something several groups work on. Everyone wants to have a sense of accomplishment in the end
  4. Relevant- This should be easy. We are doing recovery for those who most need it not corporations
  5. Time Bound- Start and stop times
So what else can help?  Just some suggestions:
Ask Groups- Churches, companies employee groups,  Youth groups, etc.  Why? They bring their own management structure which helps free you up to do other things.

Make it easy to volunteer! Do you have a gym and cots where they can crash for the 1-7 days they are there? Can you feed them?  Can you send them the paperwork to fill out in advance?Did you tell them to bring tools, gloves, etc.
Remember they are volunteering, so the easier you can make it the more likely you can get groups in.

We can never depend on the Government to do everything (that's not a political statement). Recovery takes a long time and the long game needs some thought, finesse, planning.
Don't think its a long game? When was Joplin? Look at this STORY

Lets take some time to think about Recovery and how we will get help from volunteer groups now, while its calm