This week we focus on the essential roles volunteers play in sustaining organizations. Today, we hear from Carole Henry, Community Outreach Coordinator for Palmer-based Valley Community for Recycling Solutions.

This week, Reflect. Share. Blog. focuses on the essential roles volunteers play in sustaining organizations. We asked some of our partner organizations to share tips on how to keep a motivated and engaged volunteer base. Today, we hear from Carole Henry, Community Outreach Coordinator for Palmer-based Valley Community for Recycling Solutions.recyclevolunteer

In 2010, Valley Community for Recycling Solutions (VCRS) engaged over 400 volunteers who donated more than 5,000 hours supporting our mission to educate and provide opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle for the long-term good of all.

VCRS volunteers can work on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Our volunteer coordinator contacts individuals and groups to let them know they are needed and to confirm that they are available. School and civic groups are provided a sign-up sheet about two weeks out to share with members. The sign-up sheet lets the volunteers know how they’ll help, how to get prepared, where and when they’ll be volunteering, and asks for contact information.

My tips for keeping a motivated/engaged volunteer base:

  • create a welcoming environment;
  • introduce volunteers to staff and other volunteers;
  • be available to answer questions, and listen to feedback from volunteers;
  • know your volunteer’s capabilities and talents so they can be well placed to succeed and make the most of their contribution;
  • provide snacks/food;
  • invite volunteers to join other organizational efforts (such as committees);
  • most important, ask for help only when you’re certain that you need it and are ready to receive their help.

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Tomorrow, Downtown Soup Kitchen will share its volunteer strategy. Please join the conversation by adding your thoughts and ideas.