Why is it important for volunteers to be given regular opportunities to offer and receive feedback? Feedback is a “direct response, positive or negative, to an activity performed in the interest of the organization.”1 Providing feedback to volunteers is most effective if it is immediate, ongoing, and if it comes from the volunteer’s most direct staff contact in the organization.1 Providing feedback to volunteers is an integral part of volunteer recognition, and can be an important strategy for helping volunteers to achieve their goals, especially if volunteers are seeking to build skills to enhance their employment opportunities.1
It is also essential to provide frequent opportunities for volunteers to share their experiences in their roles with other members of your organization. Collecting feedback from volunteers related to their assignments as well as to broader organizational issues can help you improve your volunteer program as well as other aspects of your organization’s operations.2
Why is it important for volunteers to receive supervision appropriate to their role? Supervision helps ensure that volunteers are accomplishing their roles in an appropriate and professional manner.1 Supervision arrangements should be determined according to the level of complexity and risk associated with a role.3 Effective supervision can improve the motivation and sense of belonging of your organization’s volunteers.3 It also increases the likelihood that they will perform their roles well and contribute to achieving your organization’s mission.3
In addition, supervision of volunteers builds relationships, supports them in their assignments, and creates a steady flow of communication between volunteers and supervisors.2 If supervision uncovers a poor fit between a volunteer and a volunteer assignment, this provides an opportunity to adjust the job description or reassign the volunteer to a different role.2
From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement," Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.
- “A Matter of Design: Job Design Theory and Application to the Voluntary Sector,” Volunteer Canada, 2001.
- “Best Practice 8: Providing Supervision,” in Best Practices in Volunteer Management: An Action Planning Guide for Small and Rural Nonprofits, Jennifer Ellis, Volunteer Canada, 2005.
- “The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement: Values, Guiding Principles, and Standards of Practice,” Volunteer Canada, 2012.