After spending time creating policies and procedures, developing volunteer recruiting and retaining strategies and convincing the board about the benefits of celebrating and recognising volunteers, you don’t want your program to fall apart when you leave or lose funding for further development.
Steps need to be taken to ensure your program is sustainable and can continue when you, or others in your organisation, move onto other places and projects.
Document policies and procedures
It is imperative to document your volunteer program's policies and procedures (or organisational policies and procedures if you are also responsible for managing the organisation). Even little things like when to send regular email updates to volunteers and the procedure for celebrating birthdays are important pieces of information to pass onto those who will be taking the reins when you move on.
Treat your volunteer program documentation as your primary succession planning tool. Keep all the program information in one, up-to-date folder to ensure the consistent transition of the program and its work to new managers or custodians.
Standard operating procedures will guide your colleagues and volunteers to ensure the good work you have done continues when you leave.
Encourage other staff or volunteers to become involved in the volunteer program from a management perspective and delegate tasks and responsibilities.
Important tasks that need to be updated and monitored include coordinating police checks and working with children checks (if relevant) for new volunteers, keeping volunteer records up to date, acknowledging and celebrating birthdays, managing induction of new volunteers and coordinating feedback and reporting processes.
In some cases, it may be appropriate to ask a volunteer to put their hand up for the volunteer coordinator position as long as they have the needed support and training from the host organisation.
It is important to continuously improve the volunteer program. This can be achieved through volunteer program audits and evaluations. The evaluation data and feedback you receive then leads to changes, additions and improvements to your existing programs.