For starters, let's consider these expressed concerns:
- I don't want to work with, or coordinate, volunteers:
- I don't understand them
- My staff feels threatened by them
- I don't know why they volunteer
- I don't comprehend what motivates them
- I (or my staff) don't know how to manage them
Okay, but let's ask this: assuming the case can be made for the use of volunteers of either category, is there someone on your staff who might be able and interested in working with the volunteers in either a convergent or in an on-going program?
Alternately, are there other departments or programs in your jurisdiction or agency that already uses volunteers that you might tap into?
Is there any existing community organization that can take on the volunteer coordination of the work to be done if a program may be developed for their use, either convergent or on-going?
But, you may be thinking, I don't really want to do that. Why should I try to overcome my concerns?
Well, here are five possibilities:
- I may be able to offer a service I otherwise could not do.
- I can augment or enhance what existing staff can provide
- Services provided by volunteers (under conditions that I can control) can represent tremendous cost savings
- Developing a plan to use convergent volunteers can generate goodwill for all. Turning them away can send a negative message to a concerned public that pays my salary.
- With an on-going volunteer group (such as ACS, or a Search & Rescue unit) I can help emergency needs, and I may enjoy the results once I get adequate answers to my concerns.
Series continues next bulletin.