Volunteers: Recruiting, Screening, and Training
Coordination and Activation
Key to the success of any volunteer program is having a designated coordinator who is responsible for recruiting, training, and activating volunteers. In addition, regular meetings, training opportunities, and recognition events ensure a more cohesive and able volunteer organization.
In Mobile County, a grant from the federal Office for Victims of Crime initially allowed for paid staff to manage volunteers through Volunteer Mobile, a volunteer center with special expertise in recruiting, training, recognizing, and managing volunteers.
Special funding, however, is not absolutely essential to coordinating a Good Samaritans program. At Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Prichard, Alabama, for example, volunteer coordinators recruit, train, and manage the Good Samaritans volunteers; in Jackson County, Mississippi, the nondenominational Community Care Network does the same.
Community outreach staff or victim service officers in prosecutors' offices or law enforcement agencies also can coordinate and activate Good Samaritans volunteers, depending on the workload and resources available in these agencies.
If funding is not available or is limited, it's best to start smallwith one police precinct or neighborhood and a few volunteer teamsand build slowly. That way, the coordinator does not have too many volunteers to handle, and the volunteers have enough work to remain active and engaged. Nothing can kill a volunteer's interest faster than not having enough to do.