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Welcome to Participant Retention. Amy Thompson. Agenda. Foundation Introductions Set the Day Agenda Opening Activity Why Volunteers Leave Management Cycle and Principles Stages of Group Development. Agenda. Leadership Compass Each One, Teach One Closing.

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  • Foundation
      • Introductions
      • Set the Day
      • Agenda
  • Opening Activity
  • Why Volunteers Leave
  • Management Cycle and Principles
  • Stages of Group Development
  • Leadership Compass
  • Each One, Teach One
  • Closing

2 of 3 volunteers stop volunteering because of poor management.


Volunteers, especially “Baby Boomers”, have high expectations:

  • Good customer service
  • Meaningful service activities
  • Well organized experience

Volunteer Management Cycle

  • PLANNING – obtaining buy-in; designing member positions; creating application forms; developing applicable policies and procedures; and educating others in the organization about involving members
  • RECRUITMENT – who, why, where, when and how. Who would be the ideal member? Why would they be interested in your member opportunity? Where and when can you reach these people? How can you create a recruitment message that encourages potential members to serve for your organization?
  • Orientation and Training – to give the general information about your organization and the specific information about the member position, provide year long training around position specific, leadership, and life after AmeriCorps.
  • Supervision and Evaluation – You need to know that the member is fulfilling their role effectively and the member needs affirmation too - assess how the member placement is going and if changes could be made to improve the member’s satisfaction or performance.
  • Recognition – happens in an informal way every time a “thank you” is said. Formally, members are thanked through celebrations and recognition events planned in their honor. It is important that the thank you fits the member; you need to know your members so that they can be thanked in a way that leaves them feeling truly recognized.
  • Conduct a needs assessment that at a min. involves the community;
  • Get buy-in from all stakeholders in project planning and development;
  • Project vision, mission and goals that fit with those of the overall organization;
  • Organization budgets money
  • Other org. staff see volunteers as assets and understand their roles;
  • Organization implements strategies to promote positive staff/volunteer relationships;
  • Top management demonstrates support; and
  • Regularly assess project strengths and challenges
recruitment and selection
Recruitment and Selection
  • Written description of the qualities of an ideal candidate based on community needs and program activities;
  • Written list of benefits volunteers receive as a part of service;
  • Written position descriptions, developed in conjunction with stakeholders that detail essential and marginal functions, time commitment, workload, supervisor, etc.;
  • Written, strategic, innovative year-long recruitment and selection plan, developed in conjunction with stakeholders
recruitment and selection1
Recruitment and Selection
  • Recruit and select a diverse pool of volunteers that reflect the communities in which they serve;
  • Actively recruit individuals with disabilities;
  • Application elicits enough information to determine whether the prospective volunteer is a potential fit;
  • Selection process thoroughly assesses volunteer background, skills, accomplishments, motivation, goals, and commitment
recruitment and selection2
Recruitment and Selection
  • Selection process involves a diversity of participants that have a stake in program;
  • Program matches volunteers to appropriate positions and sites; and
  • Program gets feedback from partners on effectiveness of recruitment and selection process;
  • Agreement that outlines expectations, agreements, and consequences (signed by volunteer and organization)
  • Written list of skills and knowledge volunteers need to serve
  • Assess training needs with volunteers and sites
  • Orientation is planned and developed with stakeholders and prepares volunteers for beginning of service
  • Provide volunteers with information on community and agency
  • Written, year-long training plan, developed in partnership with stakeholders
  • Regularly assess training effectiveness and make needed modifications
  • Yearly evaluations that provide performance feedback (2 times per year for AmeriCorps State and National)
  • Yearly opportunities for volunteers to assess program impact and support
  • Use evaluations to make yearly programmatic and volunteer improvements
  • Written strategy to retain volunteers
  • Provide each volunteer with a point of contact that provides support and supervision
  • Written plan to internally and externally recognize volunteers for accomplishments and community impact
  • Implement creative motivational strategies
  • Allow for reflection opportunities to celebrate and document accomplishments and experiences
  • Provide documentation to volunteers that demonstrate their impact
stages of group development discussion
Stages of Group Development Discussion
  • How can we present this stage to the larger group?
  • What is this stage talking about? What is going on at this time?
  • What are the greatest challenges programs and volunteers face at this stage?
  • Thinking about the different areas of the management cycle, what strategies can we implement to ensure retention?
leadership compass
Leadership Compass
  • East = Purpose, Vision, Big Picture
    • WHY?
  • West= Process, Details, Planning
    • HOW?
  • North = Products, Results, Goals
    • WHAT?
  • South = People, Relationships, Support
    • WHO?
north at our best
North – At Our Best….
  • Assertive, active, decisive
  • Like to be in control of professional relationships and determine course of events
  • Quick to act, expresses sense of urgency for others to ACT NOW
  • Enjoys challenges presented by difficult situations and people
  • Thinks in terms of the bottom line
  • Like a quick pace and a fast track
  • Courageous
  • Perseveres, not stopped by NO, probes and presses to get at hidden resistances
  • Likes variety, novelty, new projects
  • Comfortable being in front
  • “do it now, I’ll do it, what’s the bottom line?”
north taken to excess
North – Taken to Excess….
  • Can be bogged down by need to press ahead, decide, seem not to care about process or people
  • Can defensive quickly, argue, try to out-expert you
  • Can lose patience, pushes for decisions before it’s time
  • May get autocratic, want this their way, riding roughshod over people in decision making process
  • See things in terms of black and white, little tolerance for ambiguity
  • May go beyond limits, get impulsive and disregard practical issues
  • Not heedful of others’ feelings, may be perceived as cold
  • Have trouble relinquishing control – find it hard to delegate “if you want to do something right, do it yourself”
south at our best
South – At Our Best….
  • Allows others to feel important in determining direction of what’s happening
  • Value driven regarding aspects of professional life
  • Uses professional relationships to accomplish tasks, interaction is primary
  • Supportive, nurturing to colleagues and peers
  • Willingness to trust others’ statements at face value
  • Feeling-based, trusts own emotions and intuition, intuition regarded as truth
  • Team player, receptive to others’ ideas, builds on ideas of others, noncompetitive
  • Able to focus on the present moment
  • “right, fair”
south taken to excess
South – Taken to Excess….
  • Can be bogged down when believe relationships, needs of people are being compromised
  • Has trouble saying no to requests
  • Internalizes difficulty and assumes blame
  • Takes criticism of task personally
  • Prone to disappointment when relationship is seen as secondary to task
  • Difficulty confronting and dealing with anger, may be manipulated by anger
  • Easily taken advantage of
  • Immersed in present, loses track of time
  • Immersed in NOW, may not see long-range view
east at our best
East – At Our Best….
  • Visionary who sees the big picture
  • Very idea oriented, focus on future thought
  • Insight into mission and purpose
  • Looks for overarching themes, ideas
  • Likes to experiment, explore
  • Appreciates generating a lot of information
  • Inspiring, exciting, motivating
  • “options, possibilities”
east taken to excess
East – Taken to Excess….
  • Can be bogged down by lack of vision or too much emphasis on vision
  • Can lose focus or become bored with tasks, details
  • May have poor follow through on projects – drop the ball in someone else’s lap
  • May become easily over whelmed by too much detail or too many projects on the plate
  • Not time-bound, may lose track of time
  • Tends to be highly enthusiastic early on then burn out over the long haul
  • Can develop a reputation for lack of dependability
west at our best
West – At Our Best….
  • Seen as practical, dependable, and thorough in task situation
  • Helpful to others by providing planning and resources
  • Likes lists, charts, tables, organizing ideas and tasks
  • Moves carefully and follows procedures and guidelines
  • Uses data analysis and logic to make decision
  • Weighs all sides of an issue, balanced
  • Introspective, analytical
  • Careful, thoroughly examining needs in a situation
  • Works well with existing resources – get the most out of it
  • Skilled at finding fatal flaws in an idea or project
  • “objective, benchmarks, steadfast”
west taken to excess
West – Taken to Excess….
  • Can be bogged down by too much information “analysis paralysis”
  • Can become stubborn and entrenched in position
  • Can be indecisive, collect unnecessary data, mired in details
  • May appear cold, withdrawn with respect to others’ working styles (focused on data, not people)
  • Tendency towards watchfulness, observation
  • Can remain withdrawn, distanced
  • Resists emotional pleas and change
each one teach one
Each One, Teach One
  • What are the key points I pulled from this reading?
  • How does this relate to retention?
  • How can I implement this in my program?
thank you and good luck

Thank You and Good Luck!

Amy Thompson

CAC Consulting