Essentials for Volunteer Speed Matching

By Volunteer Centre Dacorum
From A Toolkit for Volunteer Speed Matching, Volunteer Centre Dacorum, 2005

The idea is simple: you bring around 20 new volunteers into contact with the same number of organisations in a fun environment. They have a limited time with each organisation & move on at a signal to the next. Both organisations & volunteers keep score sheets & matching of “yes” & “maybe” scores occurs afterwards.

The essential ingredients are:

  • 20 or so well-prepared speed matching organisations
  • Same number of labelled dating tables in a spacious venue
  • An equal number of volunteer “daters”
  • Timekeeper with a loud voice & an even louder whistle
  • Lots of coffee!

Why Speed Matching?

  • It offers a new way of recruiting volunteers, which is fun & upbeat. Not all volunteering could be described as fun, but there is no reason why the recruitment process has to be too heavy, especially at the first “date” stage.
  • It makes a change from Volunteer Fairs, where often the most positive outcome is networking with organisations on other stalls.
  • It focuses organisations ’ minds on the way they portray their activities to the general public. It’s much easier to talk at length about what they do than to distil it down into 3 or 4 minutes.
  • It makes organisations realise the competition they have from other local organisations. Why would a volunteer join them rather than another group?
  • It can be used as a PR opportunity for organisations – a chance to describe what they do to a variety of people regardless of any potential volunteering relationship.
  • It creates a lot of interest, especially from the media.
  • The Speed Matching model can be adapted to various situations.

Guides on Volunteer Speed Matching for Volunteers & Organisations

The concept of speed dating may be new to some people, so if you are arranging an event, it’s worth producing some guidelines for participants to read before the day. You may also want to consider producing a catalogue of the organisations “dating” to send out beforehand. Feedback indicates that this would be appreciated.…

Adapting the Speed Matching model:

  • Volunteer daters need a choice of opportunities. Volunteer Speed Matching can be run with a variety of organisations, or by one large organisation that has a variety of opportunities.
  • Themed sessions can be run:
    • organisations with something in common e.g. disability / elderly
    • volunteer “daters” all from one source e.g. hold the event at the premises of a local company as part of an employee volunteering initiative
    • hold an event just for potential trustees
    • run an information event using the speed matching model e.g. for personnel and/or politicians from a local authority
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