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5 Methods to Degree Up Your Volunteer Program


Nov 11, 2023


Volunteers are key to serving to nonprofits keep up and operating. From donating their time to assist out with very important packages and initiatives to lending their skilled experience and abilities, volunteers assist hold nonprofits on monitor to finish their objectives.

As a nonprofit skilled, you perceive the challenges of managing a sturdy volunteer program. Hurdles like volunteer recruitment, volunteer burnout, and disorganized coaching could make your program much less efficient. A powerful administration technique can fight these points and make your volunteer program a extra constructive and productive expertise.

On this information to bettering your nonprofit’s volunteer program, we’ll focus on 5 methods for managing your volunteers and bettering their experiences together with your group: 

  1. Put money into volunteer administration software program.
  2. Make the expertise partaking.
  3. Discover volunteer grants.
  4. Schedule social occasions.
  5. Present your appreciation.

Bettering your volunteer program must be an ongoing course of on your group that entails accepting suggestions and adjusting accordingly. Let’s get began by discussing how volunteer administration software program can streamline your administration course of. 

1. Put money into volunteer administration software program.

The most effective methods to stage up your volunteer program with out including a number of new tasks to your to-do checklist is to make use of administration software program. For instance, your group may already use membership administration software program. This software program can streamline tedious administrative duties and make it simpler to ship communications to all members.

Investing in administration software program on your volunteer program holds comparable advantages, and it might probably even assist construct loyalty and long-term relationships between you and your volunteers and improve engagement.

Many nonprofit professionals have packed schedules, complete lists of essential tasks, and little time to dedicate to volunteer administration. This will make it difficult to juggle the assorted duties of managing a volunteer group, and outdated or hard-to-use administration strategies can simply exacerbate these issues.

The correct software program can assist nonprofits higher handle their volunteer program to make for a extra partaking, constructive expertise that can hold volunteers coming again to work together with your group. For instance, volunteer administration software program can shut communication gaps round actions like scheduling and coaching, leading to a smoother expertise.

Along with bettering communication efforts, volunteer administration software program may also standardize coaching and supply a central hub for knowledge like your volunteers’ contact info, abilities, and availability. The correct software program may also mix seamlessly into the programs you already use. 

Software program like Salesforce permits nonprofits to combine a number of purposes into one system so your group can simply join volunteer administration instruments to your communication system. For nonprofits utilizing Salesforce, analysis native apps to discover a volunteer administration resolution that can combine together with your present software program. 

2. Make the expertise partaking.

Simply as partaking fundraising concepts drive donations, partaking volunteer experiences drive long-term help.

Constructing an attractive expertise for volunteers doesn’t imply it’s important to flip every step of the method into an thrilling occasion. For instance, giving volunteers the abilities they should take part within the actions they signed up for will be sufficient to domesticate excessive volunteer engagement. 

To make the volunteer expertise extra partaking, make use of the next methods:

  • Prepare your volunteers. Set your volunteers up for fulfillment by coaching them within the abilities they should full their assigned duties. Not solely does this minimize down on miscommunications and errors, but it surely additionally makes volunteers really feel like they’ve gained one thing useful by working together with your nonprofit.
  • Clearly designate their tasks. Define the duties you need your volunteers to take action there isn’t a confusion about what they need to be serving to out with. Keep in mind to delegate—assist your leaders and employees concentrate on a very powerful duties whereas volunteers deal with the day-to-day ones. 
  • Ask for (and hearken to) their suggestions. Test-in together with your volunteers commonly to gauge how they really feel about this system. You’ll be able to implement an nameless survey system to make sure you obtain trustworthy solutions or have volunteer managers ask volunteers for suggestions instantly to provide them the house to increase on their solutions and reply to follow-up questions. Make sure you acknowledge any suggestions you obtain and establish recurring tendencies in suggestions to make constructive modifications to your volunteer program.

An attractive expertise will make volunteers really feel extra motivated to proceed working together with your nonprofit, significantly in the event that they really feel like communication between them and your group is a two-way road. 

3. Discover volunteer grants.

Volunteer grants can profit any group with a dependable volunteer program. Double the Donation defines volunteer grants as “company giving packages that encourage volunteerism in communities the place staff stay and work.” In different phrases, volunteer grant packages encourage eligible neighborhood members to help native nonprofits, understanding that their work might be accompanied by a financial contribution from their employer.

Volunteer grant packages profit your nonprofit by:

  • Rising funding. Employers with a volunteer grant program will donate to the nonprofits their staff volunteer at. This implies nonprofits are in a position to earn funding from the work that their volunteers might have deliberate to do anyway. 
  • Encouraging volunteerism. A volunteer grant provides native staff an incentive to volunteer with native nonprofits. As a result of these grants give the nonprofit further funding primarily based on the time the worker spends volunteering, they could really feel extra compelled to volunteer to spice up their contribution to the trigger.

Many of those grants go unclaimed as a result of volunteers aren’t conscious that their employers provide them. A powerful volunteer administration system can assist your group establish these alternatives by centralizing donor knowledge (comparable to employer info) and opening channels for communication. That approach, you possibly can extra simply ask donors to examine their volunteer grant eligibility.

4. Schedule social occasions.

One common motive for volunteering is assembly new individuals with comparable pursuits. Establishing social occasions that enable volunteers to get to know one another can assist facilitate these relationships.

Whereas nonprofits can host social occasions like vacation events or dinners at native eating places, your group can encourage new friendships in the course of the volunteering course of as effectively. For instance, you may schedule a bunch of volunteers to work on a marketing campaign on the similar time so that they have the chance to speak with each other.

Encouraging your volunteers to socialize can:

  • Strengthen neighborhood ties.
  • Assist them meet new individuals with widespread pursuits.
  • Get them enthusiastic about volunteering as a result of they’ll look ahead to assembly up with new pals.

In case your group has a robust understanding of its volunteers’ pursuits and personalities, you could possibly type teams or pairs of volunteers who’re more likely to hit it off. One other technique for facilitating relationships between volunteers is to group them primarily based on demographic elements like age. For instance, youthful supporters are likely to get pleasure from working with others, they usually might have extra in widespread with volunteers of their age group.

In case your nonprofit has a big volunteer program however struggles to construct a robust neighborhood, volunteer administration software program can assist. Software program that may host volunteer profiles, assist handle occasions, and document volunteer engagement can present your nonprofit with correct volunteer knowledge that can inform the way you facilitate volunteer socialization alternatives. To construct a robust community of volunteers, your group may have to think about switching to a CRM with the performance you want.

5. Present your appreciation.

Stewarding relationships with volunteers by staying linked with them is simply as essential as stewarding your donors. Simply as your donors assist you to keep up and operating with monetary contributions, your volunteers give their time and vitality to furthering your mission. Plus, these areas overlap fairly a bit with volunteers donating ten occasions as a lot cash to nonprofit organizations than those that don’t volunteer.

Taking the time to point out that you simply worth your volunteers can go a good distance towards constructing deep, private relationships that encourage years of devoted help. Just a few methods to point out your appreciation for his or her arduous work embrace:

  • Saying thanks. Ship your volunteers messages expressing gratitude comparable to thank-you letters or emails. To make these messages extra private, think about calling volunteers on the cellphone and thanking them in particular person every day after they end their shifts.
  • Recognizing volunteers publicly. Establish your high volunteers by honoring them at your subsequent fundraising occasion or highlighting them in your group’s social media account. The easiest way to trace their arduous work is thru volunteer administration software program that may document their hours labored, word their tasks, and monitor different preferences which may be helpful for figuring out the way you’ll acknowledge them.
  • Taking part in volunteer holidays. Holidays comparable to Nationwide Volunteer Week and Worldwide Volunteer Day are devoted to recognizing the work volunteers do. Plan a enjoyable weekend occasion with video games and snacks on your volunteers and their households to honor their contributions.

Displaying your volunteers that you simply recognize them is essential to cultivating a customized connection together with your group. As Fionta’s information to partaking volunteers highlights, stewardship is an important a part of retaining any of your supporters, not simply donors. Use your CRM to attach your messaging instruments and volunteer profiles, permitting you to simply reference particular particulars that can make every thanks message distinctive. 

Whereas it may be tough to juggle duties associated to your volunteer program with different tasks, sustaining a sturdy volunteer program is essential. With out a crew of devoted volunteers, your intense year-end fundraiser or elaborate capital marketing campaign wouldn’t be potential. Selecting volunteer administration software program that helps you arrange knowledge and streamline the volunteer course of can assist you create a robust program your supporters will need to return to.

In regards to the Creator

Karin Tracy

Karin Tracy, VP of Advertising and marketing at Fíonta, is a seasoned designer and marketer with a ardour for serving nonprofit organizations and being a small a part of bettering the world. She is a licensed Pardot Advisor and Advertising and marketing Cloud Electronic mail Specialist, a fan of automation and reporting, a lover of animals, and devourer of popcorn.

At Fíonta, Karin drives advertising and marketing efforts for all inner and exterior tasks. Her direct service work is targeted totally on advertising and marketing technique and automation for Fíonta’s MCAE (Pardot) shoppers.


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