Volunteers are essential for the success of your Food for Learning program. Volunteers may assist in various ways: by preparing food, serving meals, shopping for groceries or picking up food orders to ensure all students are able to access nutritious food.
To help with the volunteer management of your program please review these resources:
There are many ways to recruit volunteers. These are some of several successful ways Food for Learning coordinators have recruited volunteers in our communities.
- Word of mouth: talk to community members and parents and ask them to volunteer
- School Newsletter Ad: submit an ad to the school newsletter expressing the urgent need to support the Food for Learning student nutrition program (see example in Additional Resources below)
- Set up: information tables at community events or school events
- Conduct presentations: to community groups or parent council meetings
- Circulate: flyers, posters and brochures (see flyer example in Additional Resources)
- Create: social media post – on your personal account or through school accounts, reach out and let the community know there is a need
- Other organizations’ newsletters: ask local religious institutions and relevant local agencies and organizations to run your ad in materials they send out to their members
- Web page: ask to have your need for volunteers posted on the school’s web page
Additional resources to help assist with volunteer recruitment:
It is very important to recognize your volunteers’ meaningful commitment to your Food for Learning program. Recognizing your volunteers’ efforts will help build confidence and provide much needed appreciation. Volunteer recognition is also an important factor of volunteer retention. A volunteer that feels appreciated and important is more likely to stay committed and involved with your program.
There are many ways to recognize volunteers. Some examples are:
- Buy them tickets for Food for Learning’s Student Benefit Auction
- Gather for a luncheon
- Recognize your volunteers at a school assembly
- Acknowledge your volunteers in the school newsletter
- Send volunteers a holiday greeting card and/or a birthday card
- Provide a Food for Learning volunteer certificate at the end of the year
- Make them a name tag/ID so they don’t always have a ‘visitor tag’
- Highlight their work in a social media post
- Say thank you – often
- Ask volunteers for their suggestions; listen to their ideas
- Have students make volunteers a thank you card
- Get to know your volunteers
Additional resources to help assist with volunteer recognition:
Retaining volunteers can be a challenge but retention can be higher when a volunteer feels connected and supported to your program. Be sure to connect each volunteer with a task they want to be doing.
- Interview your volunteers before they begin volunteering in an effort to understand what tasks/duties they are interested in.
- If all of your volunteers want to be completing the same task, be sure to create an inclusive schedule so that all volunteers have equal opportunity.
- Do not let staff or other volunteers treat each other poorly. Always make sure the program environment is supportive and hospitable for each volunteer to feel included and a part of your team!
- Allow volunteers to see the impact they have and share stories with volunteers so they know the difference they are making for your program.
Additional resources to help assist with volunteer retention: