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Old 01-02-2011, 10:21 PM   #1
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Working with volunteers

Any tips and tricks for working with volunteers? Got an upcoming project where I will be the skilled leader, and working with 8-10 unskilled (likely/mostly) helpers from a local group.

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Old 01-02-2011, 10:53 PM   #2
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Working with volunteers

Originally Posted by ranger12 View Post
Any tips and tricks for working with volunteers? Got an upcoming project where I will be the skilled leader, and working with 8-10 unskilled (likely/mostly) helpers from a local group.
PATIENCE ,while they are eager to help and learn, remember they will mostly have no technical knowledge or hands on experience with their tasks. Thus unlike when dealing with a tradesman on a job, you cannot make many assumptions about things they should know; this is especially true about working safely with power tools.

Usually by the end pf the first day, ypu will be able to make judgements on who the "leaders" are vs the "helpers".

Last edited by troubleseeker; 01-02-2011 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:55 PM   #3
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Working with volunteers

Give them limited tasks that are supervised. Identify the more competant of the group for any of the more involved tasks.
Give them a lot of positve reinforcement.
Don't expect too much the first time out.
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Old 01-02-2011, 11:31 PM   #4
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Working with volunteers

I wonder if they all should sign a waiver relieving you of any responsibility if one of them were to be injured while performing a task at your direction.
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:24 AM   #5
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Working with volunteers

Oh man, you picked the tough one.
I was once told by a Preacher with a Doctor's degree, "trying to get a group of volunteers to work together is like herding cats".
Some of them will feel because they are giving their time that they can call their on shots. If they are young and unfocused your job will be even more difficult. Experience working with people will pay off. If they make mistakes you have to use finesse to keep them from walking off the job. You can't show anger. If you have people in the group that are showing the kind of interest that you want then use them as an example to keep the others focused. Keep things interesting!
What age group volunteers? What type of work?
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:34 AM   #6
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Working with volunteers

The first step is the pre-planning. Know what is to be done, prioritize the separate tasks, estimate the number of persons and amount of time to complete each task. Make a brief list of things to cover at the beginning of the project; thank you for being here today, a brief summary of the project and how their effort will support it, ladder safety, etc., and ask if anyone has any special requirements, i.e. has to leave early, etc., as this may tell you where to assign them.

Arrive early. Allow time to start chatting and mingling with volunteers, in order for you to have an opportunity to learn who the leaders may be.

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