Banker Provides Guide to Long-Lasting Volunteer Success - Five Rules for a Successful Volunteer Program

Redondo Beach, CA, November 05, 2008 --( Jesse Torres, bank president, lifelong volunteer and recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award, today provided to nonprofit organizations, the five rules to maintaining long-lasting volunteer participation.

“A common complaint I hear repeatedly among program directors and managers is their inability to hold on to volunteers beyond a specific project. Next to funding, volunteer turnover ranks as the next major challenge for organizations dependent on low-cost human capital for the successful delivery of programs,” said Torres. “Loss of volunteers severely affects public health programs, recreational programs, educational programs and every other type of program that relies on the donation of time. Over the years, as a volunteer or volunteer coordinator, I have come to learn these five simple rules to volunteer success.”

The five rules are:

1) Provide a framework that includes policies, procedures, tools, orientation, commonly asked questions and a point of contact for new volunteers, regardless of the volunteer’s role. The goal should be to make the volunteer feel comfortable before stepping into unknown waters. This information will not only allow volunteers to become comfortable and well acquainted with the organization and their role, but also allows them to envision playing a larger role within the organization before they even begin. Notwithstanding the framework provided, to the extent possible provide sufficient flexibility to allow the volunteer to apply individuality in problem solving and execution in a manner that is conducive to each individual's style and preference while still accomplishing what needs to be done within the timeframes required.

2) Provide continuing education/training to volunteers to increase organizational competency. As the individual gains experience and becomes increasingly familiar and comfortable with the organization, the volunteer feels more vested, willing and able to accept additional responsibility. Leadership/On-The-Job training provides volunteers with the opportunity to move up the organizational ladder and increase their contribution to the organization.

3) Provide the tools to succeed. The proper tools include forms, checklists, feedback, mentoring, etc.

4) Include recognition programs that showcase volunteer efforts among their peers. This includes use of the President's Volunteer Service Award as well as other similar programs that help celebrate a volunteer’s contributions to the organization. Include newsletters, e-mail blasts, press releases and award functions. While volunteers provide their time for all the right reasons and not for the recognition, acknowledging the efforts is generally greatly appreciated and encourages further participation.

5) Spread the workload out among many. Do not make volunteers feel like it is all on their shoulders. People volunteer to feel good and to support a cause they believe in. They do not do it to create additional stress in their lives. The moment volunteer activity begins to resemble the stress and anxiety associated with work the volunteers are likely to begin the process of unwinding their involvement. Too much stress creates the "I don't need this" scenario. In every organization someone is likely to own the lion's share of the burden. However, these individuals should be management (executive director, board members, etc.). The rank and file volunteer should feel energized about volunteering.

Jesse Torres is currently President and Chief Operating Officer of Security Savings Bank in Henderson, Nevada. He is a management guru with over 15 years of banking industry experience as a regulator (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), consultant (KPMG Peat Marwick) as well as a banker in large ($18 billion+) and small ($250 million) bank environments. Mr. Torres specializes in Hispanic marketing and risk/regulatory management with an emphasis in "crisis" situations. Mr. Torres’ strengths include marketing, operations, regulatory compliance, risk management, information technology and team development. Mr. Torres is a former Chairman of the Los Angeles Junior Chairman of Commerce and LAJCC Charitable Foundation and founder of the Hermosa Beach Soccer Club as well as holder of numerous volunteer board positions. Mr. Torres can be reached at

Jesse Torres
310 408 6963
409 North Pacific Coast Highway #414
Redondo Beach, CA 90277