EdConnect schools that have the most successful volunteers, put in place our Top 10 Volunteer Success Measures:
A genuine ‘get to know you’ session with the volunteer to understand their motivation, experience, background and interests.
A key contact at the school for the volunteer to liaise with about their placement and activity.
A clear description of the activity the volunteer will be involved with and the aim each school term, e.g. To improve the child’s reading ability, to get the student to open up more, to improve subtraction skills, to cover the new books in the library, to maintain our edible garden.
A person at the school who will contact the volunteer if there is a curriculum or sport day coming up. (There is nothing worse than a volunteer turning up to find they are not required!
Never leaving your volunteer alone with children – they must be within clear eye view of teacher or staff and must not be left alone in a first aid room, or store room etc..
Regular ‘checking in’ with the volunteer to ask how their experience is going and if there is anything that can be done to make the placement more rewarding or satisfying.
Positive feedback and re-enforcement about the difference or impact the volunteer is making at the school, by the teacher who has the direct contact with the volunteer on a regular basis. (our volunteers tell us this is what they want to know most of all, if they are making a difference and how)
Once a year, recognising and celebrating the volunteers’ contribution. Some schools host a special assembly or volunteer’s morning tea, others put a notice in the newsletter or give out appreciation certificates.
Not taking the volunteer for granted, no matter how many months or years they continue to come and help out.
Connect the volunteer with the new teacher at the end of term or year so they have continuity.
We’re harnessing the wisdom and skills of older generations to enrich the learning experience of young people who are at risk of falling by the wayside in an often over-burdened school system.