recruitment and retention
I come from an all volunteer fire department in Maryland and we have problems like every other volunteer fire department with recruitment and retention. I have found that recently over the last few years that the young people we have recruited into the department only want to fight fire and don't want to participate in the day to day activities of fund raising, training, work details ect... We use to have a point system in place so members were held accountable for what they did and didn't do and if they didn't make a certain amount of points annually you were placed on probation or worst case removed from the company. But do to todays recruitment problems and to retain those members that we already have my company has done away with the point system because they didn't want to step on toes and now this has put us in a precarious position. Only a select few do the work and training ect and its getting harder and harder to be a volunteer. What do we need to do as a company? Be strict and lose those that want to fight fire and not work and train or just let what is going on go on and just deal with it. How has your companies dealt with these issues?
Recruitment and Retention Planning
I teach a course in Recruitment and Retention here in New Jersey, so I can offer a couple of ideas that should help. (?)
First, your committee needs to develop a plan for recruiting new members. To do that, the committee needs to survey what's needed, what's available and decide what resources are required. You need to determine how many members you can handle at one time, what is the profile of your desired recruit, and finally where these recruits are.
After a COMPLETE survey, you need to develop a plan to attract your target audience. Understand that trying to recruit "everyone" is not a workable solution... Also, the primary reason that people do not volunteer is that THEY WERE NEVER ASKED!!!!! Understand that we compete for volunteers with the local hospital, United Way, Cancer Society, and so on... It is important that your recruiting efforts are able to explain why your organization should be their choice to spend their time....
Finally, remember that recruiting volunteers is long hard work. It doesn't happen overnight and doesn't happen unless everyone commits to the process.
One last note or two. Do not "sugar coat" your answers to any potential volunteer. Don't downplay the time it takes, or the potential danger etc...If you "lie" to the volunteer up front, he will leave because he or she will not feel that they have been dealt with honestly... Secondly, your best source of recruiters are your current members. They already know what it takes and can accurately describe everything involved. The Recruiting Committee should develop training for your membership in who you want to recruit and the answers to all those question potential volunteers will ask. In this way, everyone has the same answers and the message is uniform to all potential targets....
That's a quick overview (my class lasts 6 hours!!!)
Let me know if I can help...