Supervision and performance management
It is not a good idea to train volunteers, assign them tasks, and then ignore them for the remainder of the volunteer relationship. Managing and supervising volunteers is an ongoing task. When done well, it will maximize the value of volunteers to your agency.
- Schedule brief check-in meetings with volunteers every 3-5 weeks.
- Recognize the power of the positive: praise good work; celebrate achievements; thank students for their time.
- Get to know your volunteers. Talk to them about their interests, goals and backgrounds.
- Provide constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement throughout the service experience. Don't wait until the end of the voluntee relationship to provide positive or negative comments.
- Be sure service learners know who will be evaluating their performance at the end of the semester.
- Address problems as they arise; don't let them build up. Be honest about needed improvements. Treat volunteers as adults, and don't coddle underperformers.
- Adopt a clear, step-by-step performance management system. This spells out expectations and the consequences for failing to meet expectations. Use our template as an example, and then customize it to your agency's needs.
- Meet with service learners face-to-face during a final shift. Ask them to give feedback about their experience. Have an honest conversation about how well they performed. Share your performance evaluation with the student, or go through it together during your final meeting.