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VFIS offers a free checklist assessing your Vol. R&R Program

FREE CHECKLIST: Assessing your volunteer retention and recruitment programs

Volunteer retention and recruitment should be considered ongoing and separate processes in your ESO. And while you may need additional personnel—your current roster should be your primary focus as it’s less expensive to develop and retain existing personnel than to recruit and train new volunteers.

Answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions and tally up how many “yeses” your organization receives. Be honest—and if there’s any doubt in your mind, it is suggested to answer “no”.

  1. Does your ESO conduct exit interviews with any individual leaving your organization?
  2. Does your ESO conduct periodic evaluations, at least annually, on a continual basis?
  3. Does your ESO have a job description for every position within the organization?
  4. Does your ESO have a clear organization structure for both operations and administrative personnel?
  5. Does your ESO have a written personnel manual updated within the last 3 years?
  6. Does your ESO have both paper and electronic applications available for prospective volunteers?
  7. Does your ESO assist individuals that need assistance when completing the application?
  8. Does your ESO use multiple communication methods to reach current and prospective members?
  9. Does your ESO charge a fee for prospective members to join the organization?
  10. Does a prospective member have to wait between the time of a completed application until the VFD “votes in” the applicant?
  11. Does your ESO advertise “Volunteers Needed”?
  12. Does your ESO have a volunteer awards or incentive program?
  13. Is your ESO able to handle the onboarding process for (5) new volunteers at one time?
  14. Can your ESO afford to outfit and train 5 new volunteers at one time?
  15. Does your ESO have 5 different mentors available that are willing to be assigned 5 new volunteers?
  16. Does your ESO know the cost to outfit and train each new volunteer for their respective position?
  17. Do you know the attrition rate of volunteers in your ESO?
  18. Do you know the retention rate of volunteers in your ESO?
  19. Does your ESO match times of training sessions to times when the volunteers are available?
  20. Does a chief officer dedicate time to meet with each volunteer periodically, at least once per year?
  21. Do you provide a copy of your ESO bylaws to each new volunteer member?
  22. Do you provide a copy of department SOPs/SOGs to each new volunteer member?
  23. Does your ESO have a quantifiable method to determine how a volunteer completes probationary status?
  24. Does your ESO have a quantifiable method to determine how a member is defined as “active” during a given timeframe?
  25. Does your ESO have dedicated office hours at your station announced to the public and displayed at each main entrance?