[TheThinkTank] Scheduling Volunteers

Macho Philipovich macho at resist.ca
Tue Mar 3 12:53:38 PST 2009

here's what we do:

- we have a "volunteer coordination" committee, whose members rotate 
over time, and who take turns each month to be the monthly "volunteer 
- that coordinator (using a google docs spreadsheet system we came up 
with) schedules all the shifts for the month, sending emails, doing 
call-arounds, does the monthly volunteer orientation, and coordinates 
having food at our monthly meeting
- we aim for a minimum of 3 volunteers per shift in the winter, 4 in the 
summer, preferring 5.  the more the merrier.
- if there are way more volunteers than needed they can work on "shop 
bikes" (bikes we're building up to sell), sort parts, or just hang out.
- we tell people to give as much notice as possible if they can't make a 
shift.  usually there's a dichotomy between some people who make their 
shifts consistently, and others chronically not showing up, so we just 
don't bother counting the no-showers toward the minimums per shift.  
most people who sign up make their shifts.
- when there aren't enough people, we end up not being able to serve as 
many folks, and having to turn more away.  this totally sucks, but it 
beats burning yourself out trying to outstretch your capacity.
- we don't have any disciplinary measures, if that's what you're asking, 
apart from maybe the inevitable mild informal censure.  not much point 
in disciplining volunteers other than to create an unpleasant work 
environment, though it sucks when people don't follow through on their 

hope that helps,

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