Crafting an Effective Volunteer Application
The presence of a high-performing, dedicated team of volunteers is the backbone of most successful pregnancy centers. Having a well-structured application process serves as a great tool for ensuring that your volunteers are a perfect match for your mission and specific volunteer roles.
If we want volunteers to approach their roles with the same level of commitment and professionalism as they would in a paid job, this mindset must begin right from the application and interview process. We can pave the way by setting an example and laying out the expectations right from the start.
In today's digital age, the importance of an online application cannot be overstated. It not only streamlines the application process but also can help us to identify candidates who are willing to embrace the necessary technological tools, such as our schedulers, texting applications and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). Your application should encompass inquiries about an applicant's fundamental beliefs, their regular availability, and the motivations driving their desire to volunteer. This initial step is instrumental in sieving out individuals whose values do not align with your organization's core principles or who are unable to commit the required time.
In this article, we will delve into the crucial elements of the volunteer application and why each piece of data holds significant value.
1. Personal Information
Gathering the applicant's name, email and phone number are vital for communication and staying in touch with your volunteers or for turning applicants into donors.
Understanding the age of your volunteers can help you tailor roles that are appropriate and safe for them. It can also be useful in creating intergenerational teams. It’s also important to state that there may be additional liability to consider if hiring minor volunteers.
3. Education Level
Knowing the educational background of your volunteers can help match them to roles that align with their knowledge and skills. However this is not always as significant when it comes to the average volunteer role.
4. Employment History
Applicants' work history can reveal valuable skills and experiences that can be beneficial in your organization. Their longevity in these roles can also speak to the work ethic that can be expected.
5. Volunteer Experience
Collecting information on previous volunteer work helps you gauge an applicant's commitment and dedication to serving others. Additionally it can speak to their world view and what is truly important to them.
6. Source of Referral
Understanding how applicants learned about your center can help you assess the effectiveness of your outreach and advertising efforts. Have they donated or been part of a supporting church? This knowledge can help you to understand if they are like-minded and inline with your mission.
7. Motivation for Volunteering
Ask applicants why they are interested in volunteering at your center. Understanding their motivations can help align them with the organization's goals and mission. It’s equally important to discover if they may have had an emotional response to a presentation, might be looking to make amends for their own past mistakes or just have too much time on their hands. In all 3 of these circumstances, it’s unlikely that a long term commitment will be made.
8. Skills, Talents, or Special Abilities
Identifying the unique strengths and talents of your volunteers can help you assign them to roles where they can excel and make a significant impact. Anyone can sort baby clothing but most volunteers would rather be in roles where their specific giftings can be put to work.
9. Areas of Weakness
Knowing an applicant's areas of weakness can guide your training efforts and help volunteers grow in their roles. This is especially helpful when placing volunteers in client-facing roles or in an area with a specific skill set.
Gathering information on an applicant's availability is crucial for scheduling and ensuring that the volunteer can commit the necessary time to your organization.
11. Position of Interest
Applicants should be able to loosly indicate the specific roles they are interested in. This information helps you match their skills and interests with available positions. So don’t neglect to offer a list of volunteer positions.
12. Religious Affiliation
Understanding an applicant's religious affiliation and doctrinal beliefs can ensure they have the ability to fully agree to your mission, vision and faith statements.
13. Stance on the Issue of Life
It is crucial that you know where applicants stand on this matter to ensure alignment with your center's values and mission. Asking specific questions can help you gain additional insight into how strong those convictions might be.
References provide valuable insights into an applicant's character and reliability. Request 3 references. One for work, one for personal, and one church connection. Don’t neglect to call each of the references asking about the applicant’s work ethic, professionalism, dependability and beliefs .
Crafting an effective volunteer application is the first step in building a strong, dedicated volunteer team for your center. Check out this sample application. And as always, reach out if you could use some help. Sample Application