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Rethinking the Volunteer Role


27th January 2023

Since the first Covid lockdown in 2020 and now with the cost-of-living crisis, the call for volunteers is more in demand than ever. So how do you create a stand-out role to attract a volunteer to your group or organisation?

To use the cliché, the answer is to ‘think outside of the box’.

Firstly, consider that there is a demographic of underutilised volunteers out there with a vast range of skills and abilities. These include those under the age of 18, students, disabled volunteers, Monday-Friday workers, and those who are house-bound. It’s straight-forward to have the right policies in place to support all volunteers and Volunteer Centre Dorset can help with this.

Secondly consider the role. Put yourself in the shoes of the volunteer, what would you like to do? Could a college student help with your social media? Perhaps a house-bound volunteer could be your community car scheme coordinator or a phone befriender? Consider if there are tasks which could be done in the evening or the weekend? Are there roles which can be carried out on an ad-hoc basis without the need for a regular commitment?

A new concept is the idea of not having a specific role for a volunteer but a group of tasks which they could be asked to carry out. An example could be a ‘retail team’ as opposed to a ‘till-operator’. As a member of the retail team, you could be asked to operate the till, sort donations, steam clothes etc. The responses to this idea are mixed as some volunteers are happy with one task whilst others like the variety, but it is something to consider as it may suit your volunteering needs.

Thirdly think about how to advertise the role. Keep it clear and interesting. Set out what is expected of the volunteer but also what the benefits are for the volunteer. Using bullet points is a great tip to keep the details on point (pardon the pun). Also set out clearly what expenses you can assist with, volunteers are looking for this information now more than ever.   

Lastly use multiple avenues to promote your opportunity. Social media, local publications, word of mouth, ask your volunteers to spread the word and get in contact with Volunteer Centre Dorset, we are here to help.   

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Volunteer Centre Dorset are thankful for the support from:

Dorset County Council
National Lottery Fund