Assessing Key Aspects of Your Volunteer Retention and Recruitment Programs

ChecklistLast updated Thursday, September 1, 2022
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Volunteer retention and recruitment should be considered ongoing and separate processes in your ESO. Every interaction with the public is an opportunity to recruit. And while you may have the need for additional personnel, your current roster should be your primary focus and a source of valuable information. It is less expensive to develop and retain existing personnel than recruiting new volunteers.

The following questions provide a high-level assessment of your volunteer retention and recruitment programs. Be honest as you answer these questions. If there is any doubt in your mind about the answer to the question, it is suggested to answer “No”.

1.       Does your ESO conduct exit interviews with any individual leaving your organization?

   [  ]  Yes

   [   ] No

2.       Does your ESO conduct periodic evaluations, at least annually, on a continual basis?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

3.       Does your ESO have a job description for every position within the organization?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

4.       Does your ESO have a clear organization structure for both operations and administrative personnel?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

   [  ]  Yes

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

6.       Does your ESO have both paper and electronic applications available for prospective volunteers?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

7.       Does your ESO assist individuals needing assistance when completing the application>

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

8.       Does your ESO use multiple communication methods to reach current and prospective members?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

9.       Does your ESO charge a fee for the prospective member to join the organization?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

10.   Does a prospective member have to wait between the time of a completed application until the VFD “votes in” the applicant?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

11.   Does your ESO advertise “Volunteers Needed”?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

12.   Does your ESO have a volunteer awards or incentive program?

   [  ]  Yes

   [   ] No

13.   Is your ESO able to handle the onboarding process for (5) new volunteers at one time?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

14.   Can your ESO afford to outfit and train 5 new volunteers at one time?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

15.   Does your ESO have 5 different mentors available and willing to be assigned to the 5 new volunteers

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

16.   Does your ESO know the cost to outfit and train each new volunteer for their respective position?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

17.   Do you know the attrition rate of volunteers in your ESO?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

18.   Do you know the retention rate of volunteers in your ESO?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

19.   Does your ESO match times of training sessions to times when the volunteers are available?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

20.   Does a chief officer dedicate time to meet with each volunteer periodically, at least once per year?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

21.   Do you provide a copy of your ESO bylaws to each new volunteer member?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

22.   Do you provide a copy of department SOPs/SOGs to each new volunteer member?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

23.   Does your ESO have a quantifiable method to determine how a volunteer completes probationary status?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

24.   Does your ESO have a quantifiable method to determine how a member is defined as “active” during a given timeframe?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

25.   Does your ESO have dedicated office hours at your station announced to the public and displayed at each main entrance?

   [  ]  Yes

  [   ] No

 

If you answered with…..

25 Yes answers, congratulations! Your organization is operating at a high level. Continually evaluate the processes to stay on the leading edge. The next step would be to have others in your organization take this same self-assessment to compare results.

20-24 Yes answers, you are well-above the average ESO. Keep up the good work and focus on the areas needing improvement.

15-19 Yes answers, you are doing well. Review the aspects needing improvement. Some may be able to be handled individually. Others require simultaneous action for the best results.

10-14 Yes answers, you are doing ok. This is area where most ESOs find themselves. There is work to be done. You may not be able to address every issue at once. Develop a plan including the prioritization of your efforts.

5-9 Yes answers, you may be struggling. ESOs finding themselves in this level, you may want to have 1 or 2 other individuals take this self-assessment to compare results.

0-4 Yes answers, you may be facing additional challenges aside from retention and recruitment processes. Seek assistance from a large employer or chamber of commerce to ask for assistance.

Re-evaluate

If you utilize this checklist, re-evaluate your performance using this same checklist in 6-8 months. This will provide your ESO with a progress report of your action taken. Celebrate your accomplishments but continually strive to improve.  

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