The Challenge of Recruiting Volunteers
A study by The Hansard Society released in April 2012 shows that volunteering in the United Kingdom went down from 29% of the population to 21% in the period 2010 -11. It is a significant figure with very real implications for charities like Mentoring Plus. It means that, as the chill winds of austerity continue to bite, volunteers have never had greater value. Equally, the competition to recruit and retain them has never been stiffer.
With this in mind, it’s incumbent on Mentoring Plus to improve the quality of the overall experience for our volunteers. What we ask of them is uniquely demanding and it’s become clear that they need an increasing amount of support if they are to give our young people the help and encouragement they need.
We’ve therefore piloted the idea of monthly support meetings with mentors. As well as giving them a greater sense of involvement in the project, these meetings enrich the mentor experience and give us the chance to pick up any problems at an early stage. They also help to ensure a greater continuity in the relationships and promote the idea that our volunteers might offer to help us again in the future.
But it’s meant that, as the work of interviewing, training and supporting mentors becomes more intense, a natural split occurs between finding and recruiting such people and supporting them once found.
To this end, our Fundraiser has successfully fund-raised to take on a part-time recruitment person, whose role will be to go out into our local community and actively promote the work of Mentoring Plus.
For there is no doubt that any future development of Mentoring Plus as an organisation relies entirely on our ability to acquire such resilient and caring volunteers. Volunteers who, in a period that will see children and families tested as never before, will play a key role in maintaining the precious fabric of our society.
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