CWTU River Keepers:


Organizational culture- The entire organization needs to be committed to including volunteers. The culture of the organization must show that volunteers are valued , play a critical role and are not just free labor. You can recruit and retain volunteers better if:
  • You have a clear plan for the work they will do
  • The work is truly meaningful and mutually beneficial to the volunteer and your organization
  • You train them well and are clear about time commitments
  • You thank them and celebrate accomplishments
  • A social atmosphere is included in the volunteer work
  • You offer the opportunity for volunteers to create their own tasks
  • Tasks require a varied amount of time and are offered at different times of the day and days of the week.
  • You use current volunteers as “ambassadors” to recruit new volunteers
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.We, as CWTU River Keepers, hope we are doing this. If we are not, please offer suggestions and please communicate with each other about ways to be more effective as a team and as an organization.

Volunteer coordinator- Environmental organizations have fewer volunteer coordinators or managers than other non-profit organizations. Having a point person to manage volunteers is one of the keys to a successful volunteer program.Ours is John Gremmer. Always feel welcome to contact John about any of your ideas!

Skill development- In this economy, your group has the opportunity to gain highly skilled volunteers that are looking to develop skills to build their resume as they consider transitioning to a new career. Examples of skills volunteers may like to gain: learning to write grant proposals, managing volunteers, and organizing an event.We have a corps of people like this: Jim Murphy, Rick Fahrenkrug, Bob Smaglik, Mike Schaefers, Phil Petersen, Lynne Drucke, Jeff Wegand.

Less commitment- Volunteers have less commitment to one organization. They are interested in volunteering for a defined activity for a limited time and then moving on to the next organization. This is becoming formalized in affinity groups such as young professional organizations that select a different group or project to volunteer for each month.Water Monitoring happens just once a month at a specified time by the Team Leader at a designated place. Car-pooling is suggested if possible. The monitoring takes as little as one hour or you can enjoy the opportunity to do other fun things (fish) while you're in the area.

Retired volunteers- Not all volunteers are retirees. Recent studies have shown that many volunteers are married, women, and 30-40 years old. Findings also show that minority populations do their volunteering through a religious organization. This connects to a trend in “green congregations.” Partnering with like-minded schools or religious institutions could connect your group to additional volunteers.

Organizational culture- Your entire organization needs to be committed to including volunteers. The culture of your organization must show that volunteers are valued , play a critical role and are not just free labor.