In today’s blog post we tackle the second piece of the ISOTURE model- the “S” (Selection/Screening).
In the recent past, Screening is by far where we have spent the bulk of our efforts as an organization. In an attempt to keep up with changing Florida laws it has been a constant effort to stay abreast of the latest requirements. With that in mind, be forewarned I will not spend much time on the topic of screening into this post. My one note about screening is it is currently, in my opinion, a moving target, that is liable to change again at any time. With this being said- please use your resources at State Headquarters by allowing the State 4-H Volunteer Coordinator to screen your volunteers.
But what about this other piece- SELECTION? This refers to the process of matching volunteer abilities and desires to pre-designed roles within your program. Things to think about when selecting volunteers to serve your program:
- Not every volunteer is a fit for your program. Be honest about it. It’s much easier to select good volunteers than to fire poor volunteers later.
- Be honest about expectations. Yours and theirs. Take time to have a one-on-one meeting with each volunteer when onboarding to discuss such expectations.
- Use role descriptions to help volunteers understand expectations. Check out examples at: Florida 4-H Volunteer Role Descriptions. Do be reasonable about expectations as well. Remember, we are competing for volunteers’ leisure time. It’s us or Netflix, bowling, etc. Be the most appealing option.
- Be honest about time commitments! If you tell a volunteer that serving as a club leader requires 2-3 hours per month, it’s not fair to add additional requirements (i.e. judging X number of record books, time spent on county fundraiser, etc.) later. You can always ask, but never demand.
- Be honest with what they can expect from you. From the first meeting- explain to the volunteer your role (including all the “other stuff” they never see). Also explain how your time is divided, how many clubs and programs you work with, etc. Underpromise and overdeliver.
- Invite them to shadow a current volunteer, attend a Leaders’ meeting, or other opportunity which will allow them to experience 4-H volunteerism before committing.
If it sounds a little bit as though volunteer selection is akin to dating, that’s because it is. We want to woo them into our organization, but we also want them to understand what is in store for them in the long-haul. Once both you and the volunteer are satisfied with a proposed position within your organization you can move into the next phase of ISOTURE= Orientation.