Have packets ready to give to potential volunteers or have an email ready to forward them information. Clearly communicate the application and on-boarding process to the volunteer. Share the short-term and long-term impact that the volunteer will make! Add known success stories to your packet.
- Volunteer Application & Info Packet
- Volunteer Recruitment: Cover Letter
- Volunteer Recruitment: Strategy Plan
- Volunteer Recruitment: Outreach Checklist
- Volunteer Recruitment: Messaging Tips & Templates
Have people that have expressed interest? Be sure to maintain contact and follow-up:
- Contact all prospective volunteers within 2 working days of their inquiry through a letter, return phone call, or email
Becoming a Volunteer
Once someone has agreed to become a volunteer at your site, they will need to complete the following steps before starting their first day:
- Submit a completed agreement and application to the site coordinator
- Have an interview with the site coordinator
- Pass a criminal background check, organized by the coordinator
- Complete the Volunteer Training video series and become familiar with this toolkit
- Setup a schedule with the coordinator and review the policies of ASPIRE and the site
Types of volunteers
- Traditional Volunteer: An adult volunteer (18 years or older), recruited and screened by an ASPIRE site, to assist regularly.
- Episodic Volunteer: A volunteer who leads a college/career-focused presentation or leads activities for groups of students (in the presence of site staff). Site’s administration decides if one-time presenters must complete a background check.
- Peer Mentor: An ASPIRE high school junior or senior who has participated in the ASPIRE peer mentor training. Peer mentors are matched one-on-one or with younger students to help them with the early stages of college and career exploration.
- Coordinator-Mentor: ASPIRE Coordinators in rural areas, where it is difficult to have regular volunteers, act as mentors.
- Team Lead: Experienced and dedicated volunteers may take on this role. Team Leads assist Coordinators with their site management duties, help recruit more volunteers, and take added responsibility in managing site resources. (Position Description)
- Resource Specialist: Volunteers can also take on the role of Resource Specialist. These volunteers act as subject matter experts for fellow mentors and help keep site information up-to-date for current and future volunteers. (Position Description)
Two key materials for volunteers (which they can also find in the "Working with Students" section of this website) will be the Volunteer Checklist and the Volunteer Calendar. These documents help volunteers know what students should be focusing on in their college/career planning process, based on their year in school, the time of year, and their stated goals.
Once volunteers have completed training, become acquainted with the process of working with students, and have gotten in the swing of things, it's important to make sure volunteers feel supported and recognized.
- Make sure volunteers are trained thoroughly and feel like they have the tools needed to succeed in their role.
- Discover a volunteer's skills and abilities that relate to the role and match them with tasks that maximize their strengths.
- Clearly show appreciation and recognition to volunteers in a way that they also appreciate. Figure out what kind of feedback method (verbal, written, etc.) is most appreciated by them as individuals.
- Support your volunteers by taking notes of their efforts, offering resources to fill in knowledge gaps, and giving feedback on areas for improvement.
Creating Positive Environments
- Solicit the observations of other staff who work with the volunteer, but respect confidentiality.
- Create a pleasant and welcoming work environment by giving them a well-lit and comfortable work space, having food or drinks available occasionally, and providing ample supplies
- Treat them as part of the site team and find ways to show them and others you notice their accomplishments.
- Listen and act on their ideas and suggestions. Use feedback from your volunteers' spring surveys to improve your site
When possible, it is great to match students and volunteers purposefully. They could posses similar career interests, hobbies, backgrounds, etc. Anything that could help create a quick working relationship between them can be beneficial: