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Table 2 Actions for three key stages of a peer volunteering programme

From: Mobilising people as assets for active ageing promotion: a multi-stakeholder perspective on peer volunteering initiatives

Set up
 ▪ Acquire sufficient funding for volunteer management/coordination, volunteer training, expenses and incentives prior to project commencement
 ▪ Set realistic volunteer recruitment targets and timescales
 ▪ Design and implement a programme evaluation. Work with the funder to ensure this will deliver the outcome data they require
 ▪ Use appropriate, diverse advertising and recruitment and joining routes focusing on delivering a diverse volunteer cohort
 ▪ Where appropriate target those whose life circumstances are changing i.e. retirement, moving to a new area or end/reduction of (grand) childcare responsibilities
 ▪ Incorporate motives for volunteering into recruitment campaigns including positive outcomes for recipients (altruism), opportunity for volunteer to (re) connect with their community and personal fulfilment
 ▪ Design roles to deliver popular benefits of volunteering i.e. personal fulfilment, purpose, acquisition of new skills, increased social and community connections
 ▪ Provide a clear volunteer role description
 ▪ Provide accurate details of time commitment and period of engagement
 ▪ Interview potential volunteers for characteristics that match well with the role including a good sense of humour, good interpersonal skills and the ability to relate to peers
Implementation and Retention
 ▪ Request that all volunteers claim expenses so that no-one feels they cannot afford to volunteer
 ▪ Develop and deliver a simple, clear training programme providing the knowledge and skills required for the specific volunteering role
 ▪ Prioritise shared interests and geographical proximity when pairing older adults
 ▪ Build in a break-point when both volunteer and participant can request a no-blame change of pairing partner
 ▪ Provide regular feedback, recognition and incentives to support volunteer retention
 ▪ Engage volunteers in discussing their preferences and needs in terms of on-going/ top-up training
 ▪ Initiate and support peer volunteer support networks
 ▪ Develop and maintain a structure for good, on-going, two-way communication
 ▪ Ensure sufficient professional volunteer management/coordination resource is available
 ▪ Build resilience through a sufficient bank of trained volunteers to cope with absences and holidays
 ▪ Work on developing a pathway to sustaining the programme
 ▪ Use outcome data to report impact to funders and support programme roll out and applications to additional funding streams
 ▪ Initiate partnerships with community stakeholders