At this point you have:
- Identified your needs and targeted volunteers
- Selected and screened potential volunteers
- Oriented volunteers to 4-H, your office, your role as the agent, and their role as the volunteer
- Trained volunteers to complete their roles
Now it’s time to move on to step #5: UTILIZATION.
Utilization refers to giving volunteers the opportunities to use their skills, abilities, and training to help your organization. Things to consider in this step:
- Seek ways to delegate. Volunteers who are not given opportunities to volunteer eventually stop offering their assistance. This takes discipline on your part to pro-actively look through your needs and determine what can be delegated. Don’t be afraid to delegate BIG to your very active volunteers. How much time do you spend securing judges for County Events? Do you have a volunteer who has a lot of important connections in your county? Consider making them the Judge Procurement Coordinator.
- Be careful when delegating to not give tasks which are too easy, too difficult, or frankly too meaningless. Remember volunteers do so in their leisure time. This is their hobby.
- Take time to consider the strengths of volunteers as you match them with volunteer opportunities. Someone who might not be a great club leader, might be fantastic at coordinating your County social media efforts, coordinating the decorations for your annual achievement banquet, or other worthy venture.
- For any role a volunteer may fill in your program- make your expectations clear, give appropriate training and tools, and coach as necessary.
Above all, utilization means “to use”. You must use your volunteers, or they will cease to volunteer with you.