“If you want an unhappy volunteer, give them the job of cleaning toilets.”
1.We did not need or want volunteers to be cleaning toilets, rooms, washing dishes, or even raking leaves. We had competent employees who could do it better.
2.We did not want to manage volunteers.
3.We did not want to give away essential jobs to volunteers.
And the marketing was not only getting left behind, I felt that all my creativity was completely used up. I literally cried out to the universe to please send me someone to help me.
And then I took action. I set out to place a notice on our Blue Osa Facebook Page and my personal page: Marketing person needed at Blue Osa – If any of you know of a person who has marketing skills – SEO, Adwords, phone skills, a people person, creative, not afraid of taking on projects and would like to live at Blue Osa for a few weeks or months and volunteer, can you have them contact us!
When asked why she wanted to come and volunteer, she replied….“I am in a place in my life where I want to take a pause to reflect. And I want to give back.” In speaking with Lynan in our original interview and planning, we both decided that having a few extra writers and copy writers at Blue Osa would be a great idea. Somehow, we managed to attract a team of five amazing people who came and spent the entire month of March with us. In that time, we did many things. The biggest gain for us was the creation of an entirely new website for Blue Osa.
5 Tips on Having Successful Volunteers:
2. Get really clear. Here are the things you MUST be clear about and upfront with them. If you follow these simple things, your life will be easier when they arrive and EVERYONE will be happier. And you will most likely get what you are asking for.
– Why are you asking for volunteers. Is it because you support a bigger cause? Or are you trying to save money. Either answer is fine, just be up front, honest and clear.
– Where are they going to sleep? Are they sharing a room? Are they sharing a bathroom?
– What is the food situation?
– Are they allowed to have relationships with your guests / clients / employees? What is your policy?
– Do they have access to your kitchen? If not, what arrangements will you make?
– What hours will they work?A big part of our volunteer program is writing copy. In having so many writers here, I initially gave them assignments and then waited for them to complete them. This did not work. People inherently procrastinate and do not work well without structure. It is better to have set hours in a designated location where everyone can see them and know when they are working for you.- Is there any nightlife nearby? What is there to do or not do where you are located.
– Do they need to provide for any of their own equipment: computers, cameras, or gardening supplies? Or will you provide these things for them?
– Will they be picked up at the airport / train station / bus station? Do you include transportation?
3. Set the tasks and then give your volunteers the space to make it happen. In other words, don’t micromanage them. Each volunteer will bring their unique brilliance to the table. They want to share it with you. They want to give it to you. Let them!
4. Take care of your volunteers. Your volunteers need to be taken care of. If they don’t feel taken care of and nurtured, they will not be happy and not produce. On the flip side of that, if they are not living up to their end of the bargain, don’t be afraid of asking them to leave. There was one volunteer we had stay for three months. After the first two weeks, we knew it was going to be rocky. The biggest regret we have today was in not letting this individual go, thus creating issues in our community.
Creating opportunities for volunteerism in your establishment is an excellent way to engender community. We have been so blessed over the past two years to be surrounded by so many amazing people, most of them coming to us from Yoga Trade–each of these people unique and so willing to share their gifts, willing to step up to the challenge of helping us achieve the mission of Blue Osa.