Shelter Management

Orienting Volunteers to a Culture of Feedback

Managing volunteers means working with a variety of personalities and learning styles. No matter how excellent volunteers are, everyone makes mistakes – and sometimes we encounter folks who seem to be less open to getting feedback on how to improve.

That's why Humane Society of the United States director of volunteer engagement Hilary Anne Hager dedicates a portion of her volunteer orientation to creating a culture of giving and receiving feedback.

Download the Script

"It is pretty darn direct," explains Hager, "and I think it really sets the tone." It's human nature to make mistakes that need correction, but by showing understanding and setting the stage for success, you can bring in people who are open to hearing how they can do things better.

Sample Segment of Volunteer Orientation Script
"My assumption is that you're here because you want to help us in the way we want to be helped. So if you're doing something that is not especially helpful, you'd rather have us step in and show you how to do it the right way instead of not saying anything, rolling our eyes, and waiting until you're gone to fix it. If that is not your assumption and you aren't okay with that, I might suggest this isn't the right place for you to volunteer. Because if you're doing something incorrectly, we're going to show you what we want instead."

More Volunteer Management Resources

Top 3 Tips for Volunteer Success 

Webinar: Volunteer Management 101: Starting Out

Webinar: Volunteer Management 201: Getting it Right and Growing Your Program

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