There are several effective steps that an organization can take to engage and drive value from lapsed volunteers, here are 5.
For many organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased number of lapsed volunteers for a variety of reasons. First, restrictions have limited the number of in-person volunteers an organization can utilize, leading to a reduction of engaged volunteer constituents. Second, many once active volunteers are unable to provide their time due to safety and health concerns. Third, many organizations have been forced to reduce or change the direction of their services.
Keeping a database of volunteers engaged is critical for the health of a nonprofits volunteer program, now and in the future. For organizations that have not focused on reengagement, now is the time. According to a recent study, performed by Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Hallam University, 38% of organizations have seen or are expecting an increase in their services since the beginning of the pandemic. It is critical that all organizations prepare for post-COVID-19 need and demand within their communities. Here are 5 tips that nonprofits can use to engage lapsed volunteers.
Communication with Volunteer Constituents
Regardless of opportunity-fulfillment status, it is important to maintain regular communication with all volunteers. An organization should use communication channels to provide volunteer constituents, active and inactive, with information about its mission, upcoming opportunities, success stories, social impact, pandemic protocols, and ways to give.
With the right tools in place, effective communication is an easy-to-implement strategy to quickly engage and reengage volunteers. According to studies, providing constituents with email and social media updates was deemed important by over 90% of nonprofits.
For lapsed volunteers, receiving regular updates can lead to reinvolvement with an organization down the road.
Investing in a volunteer management solution can help organizations effectively manage volunteer data and communicate with constituents. Learn more about VolunteerHub’s communication features.
Updated Website Showing Current Opportunities and Protocols
According to a recent survey, conducted by Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), 88% of people research an organization on its website before engaging with them. Regular updates to an organizations website can provide prospects, current volunteers, and lapsed volunteers with updates, current and upcoming opportunities, COVID-19 protocols, and additional information that can engage and reengage.
One of the best ways for an organization to reengage lapsed volunteers is by streamlining their volunteer registration process and allowing constituents to view opportunities from anywhere.
Learn more about VolunteerHub’s volunteer registration features.
Virtual Volunteer Opportunities
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many organizations to assess the value of recruiting and engaging virtual volunteers. If virtual volunteerism in an option for a nonprofit, it is a great way to get lapsed volunteers, who cannot volunteer in-person, involved again. Current trends suggest that most organizations recruiting virtual volunteers are using them to fill skill-based pro bono roles, with an estimated value of $195.00/per hour.
Deploying a virtual volunteer strategy can help nonprofits engage lapsed volunteers and expand/nurture relationships with corporate partners.
Check out this article, written by Blackbaud, that provides tips on how organizations can get started with virtual volunteering.
Cross-Pollination of Volunteers and Donors
With the COVID-19 pandemic still looming, there will be some lapsed volunteers who are not comfortable providing their time in-person, and who do not fit virtual volunteer roles. For these lapsed volunteers, organizations should consider providing them with additional ways to contribute, such as through a one-time financial gift or monthly donation.
The Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) found that people who volunteer are twice as likely to donate financially to charity.
Here are some tips on how to ask for a financial contributions.
Thanking volunteers and showing appreciation is crucial. Organizations should consider hosting volunteer appreciation events at least once a year to thank both active and inactive volunteers for their contribution towards their mission. Technology has advanced and now these events can be hosted virtually in most cases.
Here are some tips from Marketing Strategy Solutions on creating and deploying effective virtual events.
Engaging Lapsed Volunteers: Takeaways
Many organizations have seen an increase in lapsed volunteers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonprofits should reengage these supporters by communicating effectively, keeping online assets up-to-date, offering virtual volunteer opportunities if possible, providing volunteers with alternative ways to give, and hosting appreciation events.