Anyone can be a volunteer. But truly outstanding volunteers have several qualities that all volunteer managers should look out for as they build their teams. When you identify people who are a good fit, you’ll accomplish more work and have a great sense of purpose and enjoyment as a result.
First, volunteers should be enthusiastic about the mission. Whether you are serving meals to seniors, beautifying a local park or helping animals at a rescue facility, it’s important to be engaged. During the interview process, look for people who ask numerous questions about the work and the role they would play in it. These can point to a person who is ready to learn quickly and get to work serving your clients.
Second, volunteers should be engaged. Consider inviting prospective volunteers to shadow your team for a day before you officially add them to your ranks. Doing so will allow you to watch volunteers in action. Are they excited about the work and collaborating as a team? Do they ask you what tasks are available next after completing an assignment? These can all be positive signs.
Third, volunteers should be diligent. They should stick with a task until it is completed in the right way, and they shouldn’t be afraid to clarify expectations or ask for directions if an issue crops up along the way. Diligent volunteers understand the importance of doing work correctly the first time.
Finally, volunteers should demonstrate leadership. They might not be the most vocal or outspoken; in fact, their actions often speak louder than words. They set a positive example that other volunteers will admire and want to follow.
Remember to include seniors in your volunteer recruitment! They are enthusiastic, engaged, and diligent and experience incredible and unique benefits when they volunteer. According to research done by AmeriCorps, “Older Americans who volunteer frequently live longer and report less disability.” Learn more about benefits to senior volunteering and find great ideas for involving seniors from Sixty and Me’s article, “How You Can Volunteer as an Older Adult.”
If you are seeking volunteers or aim to donate time to a cause you care about, begin your search at userve.utah.gov/volunteer.