Volunteer Engagement — Core Competencies for Establishing a Culture

Organizational support:
• Resource allocation for volunteers includes budget, tools, staffing, recognition and space
• Volunteer engagement is considered a key component in strategic planning and goal setting
• The board has developed a philosophy statement about volunteer engagement that demonstrates commitment to volunteerism
• The ability to work effectively with volunteers is a criterion for employment for the synagogue and staff are held accountable for their work with volunteers

Needs Assessment:
• Volunteer participation is factored into every facet of congregational life from the top down and the bottom up
• Position descriptions for volunteers aim at fulfillment of the synagogue’s mission
• Volunteer assignments are designed to assist staff with the day to day operations as well as fulfill the synagogues dream list

Interviewing and Placement:
• Prospective volunteers are matched with assignments that are right for them and right for the synagogue
• Volunteers are screened based on the level of risk of the assignment
• New members are encouraged to volunteer as a means to establishing themselves in the synagogue community
• Volunteers have the flexibility to change assignments from time to time
• Career ladders for volunteers that provide increasing responsibilities are available to develop potential board members from the plan from the volunteer pool

Orientation:
• Resources such as space and equipment are allocated to volunteers ass needed
• The synagogue budget reflects the costs involved in effective volunteer engagement including recruitment, training, retention and recognition
• All volunteers are oriented to policies and procedures that are relevant to their assignment
• Each volunteer receives training based on the level of responsibility of his or her assignment

Effective Recruitment:
• Each volunteer position has a recruiting plan
• The synagogue’s member database includes information on the skills and talents members are willing to share
• Recruitment is personalized and existing volunteers are considered the best recruitment resource
• All synagogue collateral materials (brochures, flyers, newsletters, invitations, bulletin boards, and website) include information on volunteering

Supervision and Support:
• Every volunteer receives support based on the level of responsibility required in the volunteer assignment
• Volunteers are held accountable for the work that they do
• Volunteer work is regularly evaluated for efficacy and impact on the synagogue

Retention Strategies:
• Volunteers receive both formal and informal recognition for the work that they do
• Volunteer successes are celebrated and documented
• Volunteers have flexibility in what they do and where they do it
• Volunteers are encouraged to volunteer in different areas of the synagogue
• A volunteer benefit package has been developed

Copyright © 2005 by STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal) and republished with permission.

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