Online Induction >> Volunteer Orientation
Published 25/04/2023

Setting up an Online Volunteer Orientation

A volunteer orientation is typically an opportunity for introducing volunteers to the whole organization with a summary of the organization's mission and goals as well as important policies and procedures. Regardless of their position in the workplace, all volunteers should be taken through the same orientation. It also helps prepare a volunteer and possibly leads them to becoming a better spokesperson for the volunteer organization in society.

Engaging and interactive new volunteer orientation programs ensure that your volunteer recruitment efforts didn't go to waste. They serve to welcome the new volunteers and acquaint them with their responsibilities and the organization's mission. This process is often led by the volunteer team leaers and coordinators as well as being supported by experienced volunteers in the workplace.

When recruiting new volunteers, it's worth welcoming them with open arms to help your organization achieve its goals. This is possible through an engaging orientation program to make sure everybody understands what they are supposed to do and why they are doing it. A volunteer orientation may be referred to as a Volunteer Induction in regions such as Australia, the UK and New Zealand.

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Common things to include in a volunteer orientation

Orientation tends to provide a broad general overview. Having a detailed volunteer handbook for all the new volunteers is essential in informing them about the expectations, policies, and culture of the organization.

- Overview of the organization where you discuss with volunteers the history of the organization, significant accomplishments, and milestones. Covering what the organization does, the number of employees, mission and goals.

- Policies and procedures where you prepare the volunteer for specific tasks that volunteers need to go through. Outline the different rules for various situations to prepare the volunteers for anything when they get to their positions. This also helps them to be careful and prevent issues from occurring and how to solve them.

- Mission and goals of the organization help keep the volunteers informed on how their efforts will help the vision and mission of the organization. This makes them feel more valuable.

- Culture of the organization giving the new volunteers insights into the organizational culture. Help them understand the atmosphere of the organization.

- Safety practices and procedures help ensure volunteers receive critical information on emergency procedures such as what to do and where to go in case of fire incidents or other emergency or where to get the first aid kits.

- Volunteer opportunities and responsibilities which go through the different ways the volunteers can be involved, such as various programs, events, and committees.

- Volunteer handbook and agreement forms covering agreement forms to sign and other important requirements.

Delivering an online volunteer orientation

There are various ways to run your volunteers through an orientation, such as hosting a workshop or developing multimedia materials such as videos or PowerPoint presentations. If your volunteers have complicated schedules, need to complete the orientation remotely or are required to begin work immediately, the best way to go is to conduct the online volunteer orientation. It's often important to ensure volunteers have done the orientation before they arrive on site so they are familiar with important policies and procedures.

An online orientation is a fantastic method for delivering orientations as it allows the volunteers to go through the orientation materials at their own convenient time. The online orientation program is also useful in saving the organization money and time. Online orientations may occur at a computer in the organization or home before the volunteer comes to the workplace. It's recommended to supplement the online program with a face to face session where all unforeseen issues can be addressed.

Advantages for having a volunteer orientation

Some of the significant advantages of volunteer orientation programs include:

- Increasing enthusiasm of volunteers
- Boosting confidence
- Helping ensure volunteers are job ready and prepared for day one
- Decreasing employer risk by ensuring everyone has gone through important safety and organization procedures
- Enhances better retention of the volunteers

When you don't run a volunteer orientation

Without a volunteer orientation program, new volunteers may lack the necessary confidence in their work and also lead to potential risks. It may cause the organization to spend a lot of resources answering questions, dispelling misconceptions about the organization, and fielding misunderstandings.

Many volunteers prefer working with one organization every year, meaning that once volunteers find the organizations they like, the chances are high that they will stick to it. Failing to have a volunteer orientation that provides volunteers with information to boost personal connection and make them feel they are part of the organization decreases the volunteer retention rate drastically.

Regardless of the services a volunteer organization provides, an engaging, interactive volunteer orientation is one of the best ways to empower every new volunteer.

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