1. When bidding for projects do what you can to ensure adequate support for volunteers is built into the project.
2. Consider not recruiting volunteers with support needs so high you’re going to find too hard to meet. If you recruit them and then are not able to support them neither of you will benefit.
3. If a potential volunteer is not yet ready to volunteer consider delaying their start date (some organisations don’t let service users become volunteers until 6 months or so after they, or a family member, are no longer a service user, e.g. a hospice might ask potential volunteers to take 6 months after the bereavement of a family member; e.g. if a person in recovery is helping people with their recovery, it’s good to for both the service user and the volunteer if the volunteer is some way along their journey; e.g. a young person volunteering in a youth club, without a break, may find it hard to switch from being a member to being in a role where they’re responsible for people)
4. If a volunteer was a service user ensure they still go through the normal volunteer process, i.e. don’t assume they already know what it’s like from a volunteer’s perspective.
5. Look to have a variety of roles so that if a role is too much for a volunteer (& that’s the reason they have high support needs of you) they can do something simpler or that requires less commitment.
6. Have identified progression routes so that volunteers can start with something simple and of low commitment and work up to something more when they’re ready.
7. Be prepared to create new roles for volunteers’ progression.
8. Identify who else can support volunteers in your organisation, e.g. managers / project managers; staff/volunteer through e.g. volunteer buddies and a peer support groups.
9. Identify who else can support volunteers outside of your organisation so you can sign post to e.g. health, mental health, etc. services
10. Regularly have conversations with your volunteers about what they want next from their volunteering, how they can step up and you as the Volunteer Manager can step back to allow them to get more from the role. Look to delegate more to them (The Fierce Conversations Decision Tree Model is useful to explore how volunteers can take more responsibility little by little http://www.tuesdayconsultingllc.com/decision-tree-model-vs-effective-delegation/ ).