Building relationships for successful volunteer placements

26th June 2018 | by Michelle Boor

“Building a relationship with the staff you are hoping to introduce volunteers to is key to a successful volunteer placement.”
Michelle Boor, Community Volunteer Coordinator, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

I have been lucky to have shadowing opportunities with the teams I am developing roles with. This has enabled me to get a better understanding of their roles and the way they support patients and the hospital. It has also helped me see the value of the roles we are designing.

Face to face communication is vital for developing effective relationships with staff and getting them involved with designing role descriptions, ensuring they are effective and valuable to all. Regularly updating the teams with the progress and development of roles is also important.

For those volunteering in the Discharge Waiting Area it is important to be a regular face, popping in to gather feedback and stories and seeing if there are ways to develop the role. It is also important the volunteers feel well supported and I have developed a monthly feedback newsletter so they are aware of the valuable help they are giving to the hospital and the patients.

Calling in to see volunteers provides a valuable opportunity to say hello to staff. I organise monthly staff team meet​up​s​, to share the data and information we have collected, which they sometimes struggle to gather as they are so busy. This also gives staff an opportunity to provide feedback.

Ultimately the key to successful working relationships is communication: spending time getting to know the teams and departments you will be working with and spending time getting to know your volunteers so they feel valued.”