Volunteer relations are managed by City Fruit’s Community Growth and Impact Manager and the Community Outreach and Education Coordinator. Volunteers sign-up through City Fruit’s website, which directs them to TimeCounts, where all volunteer hours and data are tracked. Due to COVID-19, volunteer events have been limited to a 10 person maximum. On TimeCounts, prospective volunteers can see how many slots are remaining, and read more about the event. Once volunteers sign-up, they receive an email from City Fruit staff, providing more information and ways to contact them for any questions. Volunteer events only take place at public orchards, as opposed to private tree owners properties, as public orchards are much larger and can accommodate large volunteer groups.
In addition to recruiting volunteers through social media and City Fruit’s monthly newsletter, the staff engage with companies or organizations with similar interests. City Fruit often receives volunteer requests from companies looking to participate in group volunteer opportunities with their co-workers.
Prior to the start of each volunteer event, every volunteer signs a general release form and photo release form. This protects the organization, tree owner’s property, and the volunteer. After signing the release form, the City Fruit staff provide a brief orientation, highlighting where the fruit will go and how to harvest the fruit properly. Staff lead the volunteer group in a land recognition and provide background to the orchard site, including its historical significance.
Volunteers receive a follow-up email after the event, thanking them for participating and including highlights from the event (pounds of fruit harvested, etc.). Recognition is incredibly important for all volunteers who commit a significant amount of time to their work. Recognition can range from small acts, like posting a picture of volunteers who harvested fruit while it was raining and thanking them, to a formal recognition of all volunteers who have helped by having a volunteer appreciation party (happy hour, bbq, etc.).