Volaby Voice Series:

Volunteer lockdown recovery (Part 2)

Volunteer Lockdown Recovery

Part 2: Evaluating Responses & Crafting Your Risk Matrix!

{read time: ~ 5-7 mins}

Welcome back to the Volaby Voice’s “Volunteer Lockdown Recovery” – Part 2!

In this edition, we will be unpacking the results from your survey from Part 1 (click here in case you missed it), and see how we can use this information to help craft suitable and effective guidelines/processes for your volunteers and staff for what the pandemic might throws at us next!

Looking over your survey information, it would be interesting to understand:

  1. What was your volunteer’s confidence (out of 10) for returning back to volunteering with you? (Question 3)
  2. What were their main concerns? (Question 4)
  3. What did they say was the most important thing for your organisation to do to help them get back? (Question 5)

Although all of the 8 questions will provide valuable information about you and your team, these 3 in particular will help determine how best to react when different levels of restrictions and lockdowns are posed to your organisation. Ultimately, the end goal here is to understand how best to work with your volunteers during this chaotic time, in order to keep their spirits and confidence high, whilst remaining as operational as possible for your service.

Now to help get the ball rolling, judging from this feedback, what would the best response from your organisation look like for a scenario like this:

“Lockdown is now easing with only a couple of daily cases, and we can return to work/volunteering but only with masks”

  • How quickly do you think volunteers would come back? What % do you think would be comfortable to return in these conditions?
  • Have volunteers now told you they would only feel comfortable volunteering if everyone was fully vaccinated? Is this possible? Do you think all your volunteers would find this fair?
  • What would your operations now look like in these conditions if you wanted to make your volunteers super confident to get involved again?

Now of course your volunteers’ opinions (although very valuable), are not the only pieces of data to consider. Your organisations has many stakeholders and factors to that will be effected in this process. Try to balance these with:

  • What is necessary for your organisation to run from your point of view?
  • If you have donors, what might they want/need to see happen?
  • What is necessary by your local government/community?
  • If your volunteering operations involve helping people – what would these people deem necessary for you to operate?

All of these perspectives and insights will help shape the Risk Matrix! In it’s simplest form, the Risk Matrix is an internal (and potentially external) document that will help keep all stakeholders on the same page in a quick and efficient manner. This is similar to government style pandemic response levels, only these will be customised purely on your organisation according to what makes sense for your volunteering operations. The purpose is to create a standardised list of list of actions, rules, guidelines, procedures that your organisations can familiarise themselves with and then act upon if/when things in the pandemic change. For example, these can be easily split into 3 levels:

  1. Level 1 – low risk: 
    • Face masks not needed when volunteering
    • Activities run as per usual with as many people as we like
    • Gloves and sanitiser will be made available but not necessary
  2. Level 2 – Moderate risk:
    • Vaccinations not required to volunteer, but face masks must be worn at all times
    • Only 3 volunteers allowed on shift at any time
    • Shifts will not run overnight
  3. Level 3 – High risk 
    • Vaccinations will be required to volunteer, where face masks must be worn at all times
    • Only 1 volunteer and 1 staff member will be allowed on shift at any time
    • Shifts will only run for 1 hours intervals

Now these are only examples and of course each organisation’s requirements and volunteers’ needs will be different for each situation, so make sure you consider all factors when crafting your responses. Once you have considered how this might look for your organisation, we have included a Pandemic Risk Matrix Template below (click the button to see) to help you get started on your journey.

When completed, be sure to collaborate and confirm the final product with your team, then send out to all your volunteers in the appropriate channels (e.g. email, WhatsApp, etc.) to get your volunteers up to date! Then feel free to add this to your website(s), print & post it at your HQ notice board, or anywhere else your volunteers might frequent often. That way when things change quickly, you can announce what level your organisation is on, and how you can all continue to move forward and operate safely and effectively through this pandemic!

For those of you using Volaby: …This matrix can be posted in your “Resources” library for all volunteers to access, and/or added to each “Activity Description” to help remind people what the expectations might be to safely operate! 

Please note, the contents in this newsletter/blog series (and all other Volaby Voices, both past and future) are meant to be taken as purely an idea or ‘food for thought’ that hopefully becomes of use/value to our readers and volunteering organisations. We encourage all of our readers to make sure they take this content as purely ‘thought-pieces’ and that they take the proper actions/precautions to do what is right and appropriate for their organisation.  

We hope you enjoyed part 2, and we look forward to sending out Part 3 soon!