Following on from our recent post about How to Get the Best Out of Volunteers, we thought it would be interesting to look at volunteer challenges from two angles.
First, we asked our NGO partners what challenges they face when working with volunteers. Here’s what they had to say;
Not giving their all since there is no motivation
Some volunteers do not want to be tied down to one specific role. This issue can arise due to lack of a job description at the start of volunteering
Volunteers not understanding local context hence a struggle to balance how to give them a good experience and also ensure things are done in a particular way. This is not restricted to international volunteers but can be local volunteers from a different community or used to a different way of life
Expectation of being paid
Some volunteers do not possess the skills that you require so you end up spending a lot of time in training hence you lose on time
From the other side, we asked our SDG volunteers what challenges they face when it comes to volunteering;
Young people without income may want to volunteer but financially find it challenging to get to where they are needed
Not feeling satisfied by what you have given because what is needed is beyond your reach eg. When volunteering in a children’s home
Discrimination against volunteers
Not feeling valued
When we look at both these responses, it seems that there are areas of crossover. Volunteers’ expectation of being paid may be down to the fact that they have no money to get to the place where they are volunteering. Not feeling valued can lead to not giving your all. Poor communication at the start of volunteering can lead to misunderstanding around the specific role someone is expected to play within an organisation or if volunteers don’t communicate clearly and honestly what their skills are and what they are looking to get out of the experience, they might be given unsuitable tasks or want to change to something other than that to which they have been assigned.
With a good volunteer policy in place and open communication, we believe these challenges can be overcome to ensure that volunteering is mutually beneficial for an organisation and its volunteers.
If you are interested in becoming an SDG volunteer or if your organisation in Kenya is looking for volunteers, please get in touch.