This sounds A LOT like the program I inherited a year ago :) The biggest thing to remember is to be steadfast in your changes! People don't like change, but that doesn't mean it isn't good for them - you're doing the best you can for the organization, don't forget that :)
- What do you allow volunteers to do? ( Walk dogs, Clean Kennels, Feed animals, playgroups etc. ): We really offer anything to them! While we are still working on adding some structure to the volunteer side, if a volunteer is interested in working in our Parvo room, we train them and let them work in there. If they just want to help with laundry, we train them and put them there. If they want to help with marketing, etc., etc... I think the biggest mistake an organization can do is limit the roles of their volunteers. EVERYONE (including staff) was new at one point - just focus on training and communication!
- Do you allow volunteers to gets dogs from kennels alone or with a buddy system? Alone. Once they have completed our Basic Dog Handling class, they are paired with a mentor for their first walk, and once that is completed they are free to walk on their own.
- Do you require a volunteer training and if so how is it implemented? Yes. Half our Orientation is online (www.kcpetproject.org/volunteer), and then they complete a Shelter Tour. Once the Shelter Tour is complete, they work with a mentor for their very first shift (essentially, an intro to the shelter - and they are shown how to do basic, non-animal handling tasks like enrichment, watering, sanitation, organizing, etc). Once they complete our Cat 101, or Basic Dog Handling class, they are able to handle the animals.
- Do you have set times for volunteers to come? For certain programs we do. For example, our playgroup volunteers are only needed in the AM when we do play groups, so we have them sign up. Otherwise, if it's kind of an open-program, we just ask that they put themselves on the schedule when they are going to come in so we know that help is on the way ;)
Good luck - and feel free to reach out if you'd like to chat more :) Alyssa.Willett@kcmo.org