Time use, a clincher in volunteer retention message

Brent Collingwood promoting discussion with Marion Johnson, left, and Edna Stankievech at a volunteer forum in Three Hills on Wed. Nov. 7. ECA Review/ D. Nadeau

Edmonton’s Brent Collingwood presented at the invitation of Family and Community Support Services Director Shelley Jackson-Berry for the service group’s 10th annual volunteer forum, attended by more than 30 representatives from many Town and Kneehill County area organizations on Nov. 7 in Three Hills, Ab.

In his lively presentation about volunteer attraction and retention, Collingwood presented his essential five Rs—recruit, retain, refine, reorganize, and refresh. Not given to stand-and-deliver, he encouraged at-table interaction by drifting from group to group, stimulating discussion, posing alternate points of view and asking leading questions.

In saying that organizations lose poorly motivated volunteers, Collingwood’s medicine for this ailment is to make tasks and meetings relevant.

“Volunteers need to know what they are expected to accomplish. Their time is essential,” he said, “and if they don’t see the relevance of being involved, they quit.”

Collingwood cautioned his listeners that there are three kinds of time—making time, finding time, or wasting time.

“To retain and enrich your volunteers,” he said, “be organized such that you do not waste their time. They are a renewable resource, but you can’t abuse their generosity in contributing to your organization.”

 

David Nadeau

ECA Review

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