Jeremy Bartley

Are your volunteers the right people for the job?

Volunteers are vital to any nonprofit. In order to invest in their lives, keep them around and gain more, it’s important to place them in positions that fit their unique skill sets and personalities. By doing so, your volunteers will not only thrive in their positions, but stay around for a long time and encourage others to do the same. Place your volunteers in the most fitting position for them by learning the following:

1)What is he/she’s learning style?

There are four different styles of learning:

  • Visual:This person learns best by seeing images or diagrams. He/she remembers what they see rather than what they hear.
  • Aural: This person learns best through sound, rhyme and music.
  • Verbal: This person learns best through word usage, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical: This person uses his/her body and sense of touch to learn about the world around them.

Ask your volunteers how they learn best and place them in positions that require that type of learning style.

Is he/she an extrovert or introvert?

Ask your volunteers if they feel more energized when they’re around other people or when they’re on their own. If your volunteer is unsure have he/she take a disc test, which assesses how the individual interacts and works with others. He/she can take the online test here: Once you know if he/she is an introvert or extrovert you can place them accordingly.

Why is he/she volunteering?

Is your volunteer just looking for a way to complete a requirement for school or work? Is he/she seeking to give back for the long haul? Is he/she volunteering out of guilt? Ask your volunteers questions to better understand their purpose of serving with you. If you know they may only be committed for several weeks, then put them in a place that is flexible and short term. If you have a volunteer that sincerely wants serve for the foreseeable future, put them in a position that is lasting, can evolve and will require more responsibility.

What is he/she skilled at?

Find a job for your volunteer that they will enjoy, so that they’ll keep coming back. Put them in positions that fit their skillset and don’t be afraid to ask them if they have a position in mind that they’d like to try out.

Along with getting to know your volunteers, get to know the positions available to your volunteers. Similar to the questions above, look at your positions and figure out the type of person that would do best in each position. Once you know these things about both your volunteers and positions, it will be easy to place your volunteers in the best fitting place.

Be sure to talk to your volunteers and make sure they think their placement is working. Keeping the door open for discussion lets your volunteer know that you genuinely want them to stick around. By taking the time to find the right spot for your volunteers, you are furthering the life and reach of your organization.