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HomeShorter-Term Volunteering
Responding to the Trend of Shorter-Term Volunteering
Survey Report:  Shorter-Term Volunteer Commitments: The Trend and How Organizations are Responding Click Here for Report
The Survey Report was released August 2015. Read this report to learn about what volunteers are seeing about this trend and top strategies developed to address the trend.


Case Stories on Trying New Shorter-Term Roles
Readiness Assessment for Shorter-Term Volunteers

Strategies to Try
  • Design some volunteer roles that are specifically for shorter-term commitments.
  • Restructure roles for shorter-term commitments by: volunteer job sharing, dividing long term volunteer positions into multiple shorter-term positions, and splitting shifts.
  • Simplify the application, training and scheduling for shorter-term positions to keep investment of time proportional to the amount given by volunteers. Use technology to reduce time for scheduling, orientation, and training. Involve middle management volunteers in onboarding and training of other volunteers.
  • When possible, build in flexibility to meet the volunteer’s needs.
    • When identifying opportunities for shorter-term volunteerism, focus on roles that are both low in risk and organizational investment. Exceptions may be when using highly skilled volunteers engaged in focused, time-limited projects.
    • Take a new approach to recruitment that includes recruiting a larger base of volunteers to draw from and looking specifically for individuals to fill shorter term positions. Develop organizational partnerships to help provide an ongoing supply of volunteers.
  • Often it is only the volunteer manager who knows that change is needed. It will take staff buy-in to support a model of shorter-term volunteers and to develop time-limited volunteer positions. Train them to have a new perspective on the value volunteers can bring in a shorter period of time and in skills to work with shorter time commitments.
  • To make efficient use of your time, schedule specific times for one-time volunteer projects, or office hours for volunteers to drop in.
  • Take steps to make shorter-term group projects work better such as building ongoing relationships so the same groups return regularly, asking the sponsoring organization to do more training, and limiting groups to projects that have been identified as needed.
  • If you decide shorter-term volunteers cannot help meet your mission, the key is to clearly communicate that to the prospective volunteers so that they understand why your organization does not accept volunteers for shorter than the identified time period.

Thank you to the F.R. Bigelow Foundation for funding the work on this initiative in the east Twin Cities Metro Area.