Volunteers: Recruiting, Orientation, and Recognition
By Sue Alcott
I’m a firm believer that we can’t effectively manage a volunteer program if we don’t have at least a baseline understanding of who we’re working with and what motivates them. With this in mind, I started my pursuit of learning from our membership. Many of you have graciously taken my call and answered my questions about how you found yourself in your career path, what the CIA means to you, and what I can do to help. If we haven’t spoken yet, I assure you, we will.
Three Key Focus Areas
It’s from these opportunities to learn about what is important that we have been able to identify three key areas of focus:
We have taken steps with our chairs to identify candidates for various roles and define processes to place volunteers into vacant positions in a timely manner. We will continue to work on this and have high hopes to develop a recruitment program that promotes volunteering to newer members and helps current volunteers move into roles that are challenging and offer opportunities for growth.
Orientation is such an important part of volunteering. When volunteers have all of the information they need to volunteer they become better volunteers because they can start their role with confidence. It’s because of this that we created a CIA volunteer handbook, a guide that walks new volunteers through the processes and policies the CIA has in place to support you. We launched the handbook to our current volunteers on March 1, and received an overwhelmingly positive response.
Interestingly enough, when I asked our volunteers about recognition, I was often met with silence. It’s not to say that the CIA doesn’t recognize volunteers, but the efforts made have become a process or formality and so maybe don’t resonate the way they once did.
A robust, flexible, and diverse recognition program is the least the CIA can do to acknowledge the value of volunteer contributions. From a simple thank you card to a gold award, every volunteer deserves recognition.
Next week is National Volunteer Week and our theme is “Raising the Actuarial Profession to New Heights”. We will be busy visiting and celebrating our volunteers across the country and have big plans to carry on throughout the year. Show your appreciation for CIA volunteers by heading over to the CIA Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook accounts and leaving a comment about how their work has impacted you, or just say thanks to our awesome volunteers.
We are also planning our first-ever volunteer appreciation social on June 19, the evening before the Annual Conference, in Montréal. It’s an opportunity for our volunteers to get together for a drink (or two), appetizers, and conversation.
April 28 marks my six-month anniversary with the CIA. It’s with thanks to you that these months have been packed full of learning and accomplishments! I’m looking forward to the next six months.
Sue Alcott is Manager, Volunteer Services, at the CIA.