5 Recognise & Retain

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5.RECOGNISE & RETAIN

It is important to recognise the contribution of your volunteers and help ensure they feel valued and acknowledged. The way a volunteer feels can be directly related to retention levels, which ultimately benefits you, your site and team!

Motivations for volunteering:

People can decide to volunteer for a number of reasons, but these reasons and motivations can change over time. It's always helpful to know what's important to your volunteer, so you can help meet those expectations during their volunteer journey. 

  1. Schedule regular check-ins with your volunteer to see how they're going and what you can do to support them or make the position more meaningful 
  2. Ask you volunteer why they started/continue to volunteer 
  3. Try to meet those expectations where practical

Browse through our resources below to get some ideas on how you can meaningfully say thanks! 

Resources

Note: If you are looking for event-specific resources for events such as National Volunteer Week, International Volunteer Day, Christmas etc. you'll find it our Events Page (coming soon). 

Corps-facing

Although many of our corps soldiers/members are compelled by God to serve both their corps and the general community it is still important to provide forms of acknowledgement of service provided. As fellow disciples, we need to encourage and support one another in mission.

Forms of acknowledgement can come in many different forms, ie informal ‘thank you for your care and service……’, personalised written notes to a more formal event like celebrations/acknowledgement.

Resources

Community-facing

Please refer to the resources above in the main body of the page. 

Student Placement

For student placement volunteers, we like to call this stage 'Supervise and Support'. 

Supervision

  • Supervisors along with the education provider should conduct risk assessments throughout placements to ensure adequate supervision is organised.
  • Risk assessments would consider the level of risk that the students face based on the experience, skills and attributes of the student, the situation and the client.
  • Remember to gain client consent if students are going to have direct contact, this includes observation. A simple sign advising clients that there are students around is recommended. 

Resources

Performance management

  • Education providers are responsible for managing any performance issues. You should contact the education provider and allow them to resolve it.
  • If the student does something that does not reflect sound professional practice and may put a client or staff or other volunteers in a bad/awkward position you have an obligation to report them and make sure the education provider takes appropriate action. 

Recognition

  • While certificates are a great way to recognise volunteers, Student Placement volunteers may find greater value in knowing you are willing to provide a reference when needed. Check-in with them to see what is more meaningful. 

Resource

  • Student Placement Reference Letter - template (coming soon) 

Work for the Dole

All the above principles apply to Work for the Dole volunteers/participants. Recognising, valuing and acknowledging their contribution to TSA mission can often lead to ongoing and further missional opportunities. 

However, there are a few things to keep in mind: 

Supporting WfD Volunteers

  • The goal for WfD volunteers/participants is to obtain paid employment and with your training and support, many will demonstrate to a prospective employer their ability to overcome previously perceived barriers
  • If a WfD volunteer/participant leaves the placement, the jobactive Provider will arrange a replacement with a new job seeker who has expressed interest in the activity (wherever possible).

Note: There will be NO additional placement fee provided to the Host Organisation.

Attendance

  • Recording attendance for WfD volunteers/participants is essential as this directly impacts their payments. 
  • Complete attendance records using the WfD Supervisors App rather than hard copy timesheets where possible 

Ongoing supervision

  • If an incident has occurred, it must be reported to the Lead Provider within 24 hours of the incident 
  • The Host Organisation, not the Provider, is responsible for the management and supervision of any WfD placement. However, Providers are expected to assist if any issues arise.

Other Government Sponsored

Just like all other volunteer types, it is essential that government-sponsored volunteers feel part of TSA and feel acknowledged for their contribution to mission delivery. Upon successful completion of their placement, we would recommend using the above recognition ideas and certificates. 

We also encourage you to invite them to join other TSA programs to continue engagement and explore missional opportunities with them.

Corporate

Corporate volunteers are most often only engaged with TSA on a once-off basis. We would recommend the following recognition ideas:

  • Take photos during the day and a big group photo. Use this to write a story and send into the VR team on vrhelpdesk@salvationarmy.org.au or via your VR Advisor. We will then explore platforms to publish including LinkedIn. 
  • Print certificate for each individual volunteer. Where possible, this should be printed before the activity or 
  • Print a Certificate of Appreciation with the Business name on it, and present to the Team Leader on the day.

Resource

Once-off & Event

Making a short term volunteer feel valued and part of the team can be a challenge when you might only see them for a couple of hours. It is important to see the volunteer as part of the team. If you can make their experience positive you might just end up with a new ongoing volunteer.

In addition to using the resources above, we also suggest:

  • Inviting volunteers to come back and volunteer or participate in other programs 
  • Take photos and create a thank you post on social media or send the photos and short story to us - vrhelpdesk@salvationarmy.org.au. We'll explore different platforms to publish the story. 

Big events:

  • Some events such as Red Shield Appeal may involve more planned 'thank you' events such a bbq. Make sure all volunteers involved in the event are invited and encouraged to attend!