Kia ora e hoa!
One of the most common questions I’ve had in the last few weeks is how can we incentivise volunteering so that we can get more people to volunteer for us. It’s a question that gets asked in other ways as well, like, we don’t have enough volunteers, what can we do to get more volunteers? Or, how do we reach out to volunteers that we ordinarily wouldn’t be able to reach? It’s an interesting question – one that doesn’t necessarily have an answer, but can be solved or mitigated in other ways. However, I’m going to be controversial and say, how is your volunteer programme evolving to attract or keep volunteers?
The way we live our lives is vastly different from how we lived our lives even 10 years ago so having the same volunteer programme, successful or not, for that same amount of time isn’t going to keep attracting the same kinds of volunteers. If it IS successful, you still need to be considering how to change the programme to better include other parts of the community. There is a lot of health and safety surrounding volunteer programmes now; so people are less likely to try and attract youth, migrants and people with disabilities. We need to get past the idea that there are ‘challenging’ types of volunteers to engage; there are just different types of people who need to be worked with in different ways.
Coming up to a (hopefully) prolonged period of rest for those of us in this sector, now is a chance to reflect on what you are doing with your volunteer programmes. Now is a chance for volunteers to think about the ways that they do volunteer, and how they can adapt that. It is a period for reflection and evaluation and the best programmes are always ones that are flexible and evolve with the changing nature of the work – and volunteers! We have so much to be thankful for in beautiful Aotearoa, and our volunteers are right up there!
We’re currently on the countdown for International Volunteer Day. This day for volunteers is celebrated on December 5th every year across the world. For many of us as well, it is also the countdown for the school holidays and Christmas so it’s a time of year that is also very busy! Appreciating your volunteers is incredibly important, and we’d love to see what you are up to this year. Flick us through any photos you take on the day – we’d love to share them! We hope that you all enjoy IVDay!
All the best, and a happy holidays for you all, from the Team at Volunteering Otago
See you in 2020!