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jules1971

Getting Volunteers

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Hello All. I am wondering if anyone has any tried and true ways to recruit and retain volunteers. I have a volunteer coordinator at my 100 bed SNF and we have the same 4 "routine" volunteers (i.e. come a few times a week) and a few that come 1x per week and MANY that come once a year(if that) and some that never show up again. Other than posting posters thru-out the community stating that we really are in need of volunteers, does anyone have any other suggesstions that I can relay back to my volunteer coordinator who has been on the job for 5 years? I would really appreciate some insight on what works for you. Thanks so much. :P

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I work in a small rural town & you would think volunteers would be easy to get, but when I got here 8+ years ago, I found it wasn't easy at all to get or keep them. I have been able to find some things that work for my facility. I have a newsletter just for volunteers & send it to all the area churches & anyone or any organization who has done anything for us plus send it to our regular volunteers. In it I have newsy bits & facts that will make them want to read it, facility news, & areas & events that we need volunteers for that month, along with the monthly calendar. My dept. makes a big deal out of Volunteer Month (April). We have games, prizes, door prizes, & nice finger food. We also have a Christmas Party for them & I send prompt thank you notes when they do something special apart from their ordinary duties. I also voice my appreciation to them face to face on a regular basis & sincerely tell them how much I appreciate them & what a difference they're making. All this, I think, contributes to keeping them. To get volunteers, I just ask. I talk to families & ask them to help with specific things or ask if they have talents such as playing an instrument, art, etc. or if they know someone who does. Also, I approach our pastors & local priest & ask if they'll announce during church, put in their bulletin or monthly newsletter, or post that we need volunteers. The local Rotary, 4-H clubs, school choirs, etc. can also be helpful & talking to staff to see if they have family members who can help are good, too. This has all been a learning process & taken time, but we have a strong corps of reliabe, faithful folks & number of them have become dear friends. Hope this is helpful. Good luck!

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I work in a small rural town & you would think volunteers would be easy to get, but when I got here 8+ years ago, I found it wasn't easy at all to get or keep them. I have been able to find some things that work for my facility. I have a newsletter just for volunteers & send it to all the area churches & anyone or any organization who has done anything for us plus send it to our regular volunteers. In it I have newsy bits & facts that will make them want to read it, facility news, & areas & events that we need volunteers for that month, along with the monthly calendar. My dept. makes a big deal out of Volunteer Month (April). We have games, prizes, door prizes, & nice finger food. We also have a Christmas Party for them & I send prompt thank you notes when they do something special apart from their ordinary duties. I also voice my appreciation to them face to face on a regular basis & sincerely tell them how much I appreciate them & what a difference they're making. All this, I think, contributes to keeping them. To get volunteers, I just ask. I talk to families & ask them to help with specific things or ask if they have talents such as playing an instrument, art, etc. or if they know someone who does. Also, I approach our pastors & local priest & ask if they'll announce during church, put in their bulletin or monthly newsletter, or post that we need volunteers. The local Rotary, 4-H clubs, school choirs, etc. can also be helpful & talking to staff to see if they have family members who can help are good, too. This has all been a learning process & taken time, but we have a strong corps of reliabe, faithful folks & number of them have become dear friends. Hope this is helpful. Good luck!

 

Thank you for your input. We already do most of these things already with the exception of the newsletter...that is a good idea. I think our issue is recruiting NEW people and actually CALLING/CONTACTING current volunteers...rather than them contacting us when they are available. We just need our coordinator to put forth a little more effort. We do throw events in their honor, as well as thank them when they are here and show much appreciation, however, most of our volunteers are advancing in age and have their own health issues and limitations. Thank you for the suggesstion of the news letter....we just may need to try that.

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It is very weird that I noticed this topic....

 

My boss and I were talking about this very subject yesterday.

 

I have found that obtaining volunteers is tough! They are not paid, they are usually just there because they want to be, they are surrounded by people who are percieved as dying....

 

Those are tough elements to overcome, heck, many of the staff can't get over em!

 

 

I have found that if you take time to recruit good people that want to help(versus trying to fill a position) them you will get a better result.

 

After a volunteer fills out all of the necessary paperwork, I try to sit down with them for a talk about what they want to do. What is their background? Why do they want to volunteer? Have they had experience with seniors? What are they afraid of seeing or experiencing?

 

I will then have them joing me in an activity. This is just to "feel" them out for thier level of comfort with my folks.

 

This is especially true for the following types of resident:

 

the screamer, the wanderer, the mumbler, the silent type, the grumpy male/female, the young resident

 

 

I like to know what they expect in the nursing home.

 

Now....where do you find them?

 

Churches, civic groups, friends//family of the residents, friends and family of yours, peers of your that work in the nursing homem or somewhere else, schools, just to name a few.

 

 

Hope this helps,

 

Chris

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Wow, this is all such good info! My boss is really trying to get me to have more volunteers, but I feel so frustrated, since it's not like a job you can put an ad out for! I have tried contacted schools and churches with very little results. I can get school bands to come out here and play, but those kind of events are MORE stressful for me because of trying to make sure everything goes smoothly - I'm wishing for the kind of volunteers who will do stuff with the residents directly, and it either gives me an extra pair of hands at an activity, or gives me a blessed free moment to get other things done!

 

I will definitely use some of these strategies. I am really interested in that newsletter. Is there any way you could send me a copy of one so I can see it for myself? Thanks!

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I would suggest asking staff members if they have anyone they could refer and also as family members of the residents that are there now alot of times they come in to visit their loved one and they wouldn't mine helping out here and there. Churches are also a great place to go because alot of the times they are willing and already do things like that. Also high schools and colleges always have to do community service and nursing facilities are a great place to do that. and don't forget to make then feel appreciated.

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We have had good luck with 4-H clubs, Boy and Girl Scouts, RSVP volunteers (as they are always looking for volunteer hours) and the local ARC chapter brings down some of the higher functioning developmentally disabled to help out with some of our activities.

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