4 Ways AmeriCorps Experience Helps Volunteer Managers
Happy International Volunteer Managers Day! As Alums, we have a passion for service and many of us have had the opportunity to continue to be involved in our communities as volunteer managers. We know that the experiences from our terms of service have played a huge part in helping us understand how to engage volunteers in different capacities.
On social media, we asked for Alums who are or have been volunteer managers to identify ways in which their AmeriCorps service has helped in their position and this is what we’ve learned:
- Empowering Volunteers: As one Alum shares, “My AmeriCorps years truly shaped how I view volunteering and helped me understand the importance of empowering volunteers and guiding them to realize the impact of their tasks.” There’s a lot of impact that can be made through service and helping your volunteers understand the importance of their work and recognizing the value they each bring to the tasks will inspire them to want to serve.
- Matching Skills with Projects: Working on teams during our AmeriCorps year, we know that each person possesses special skills and talent that in the right combination can bring out the best results for a project. As a volunteer manager, it’s important to clearly outline the tasks and responsibilities of each project and have volunteers who can best serve in those capacities. When people enjoy what they’re doing, they’ll likely want to continue serving. Maximize their time and help your volunteers help you and your organization.
- Understanding Diverse Populations: As an Alum, you’ve had experiences working with populations, communities, and colleagues who have gone through very different life experiences than yourself. As a volunteer manager, you’ll be working with volunteer populations who are just the same. An understanding of diversity and empathy for your volunteers will help to build a lasting relationship between you, them and your organization.
- Saying Thank You: As volunteers and AmeriCorps Alums, we understand that the work we do is definitely NOT for the extrinsic value of making money. That aside, the gratitude and recognition of a volunteer manager to their volunteers can go a long way to building a sustainable base of service members. We all remember what it felt like to be appreciated for the service we committed, so remember to pass it on to your volunteers. Some things you could do include handwritten thank you notes, hosting a volunteer lunch or post service outing, and writing a recommendation or reference for a regular volunteer leader.
We also want to take the time to recognize the current AmeriCorps members and Alums who are currently serving in the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief. Click here to visit our homepage where you can learn more about how you can register your interest to serve or to donate to a partner agency.
What are other skills you’ve learned in AmeriCorps that have helped you as a volunteer manager?