Effectively managing volunteers starts with a vision, the creation of a plan, and the execution of a strategic process to reach targeted goals.

Determining your organization’s vision for managing volunteers, developing a strategy, and investing in tools that can help your nonprofit reach goals is the foundation of effective volunteer management. When developing a vision and strategy, your nonprofit should consider what is important to both your organization and the volunteers that provide your nonprofit with support.

Effective volunteer management should make your volunteer coordinator’s job easier, and provide volunteers with the highest level of engagement possible. Deploying a strategic volunteer management process should also reduce the amount of administrative time invested and streamline the overall process from new volunteer registration to ongoing communications.

Remember that, on average, 80% of volunteers also provide financial support to the organizations that they volunteer with. In other words, managing volunteers strategically and creating the most ideal process possible can also impact your nonprofit’s fundraising goals. Your nonprofit should consider this when forecasting ROI from your volunteer management strategy and supporting tools.

Engagement is the Foundation of Managing Volunteers Effectively

Your organization has a better chance of developing an effective process for managing volunteers when engagement is the foundation of your volunteer management strategy. Volunteers, who are engaged, are more likely to fulfill more opportunities with your nonprofit and be involved in the overall process.

One of the most effective ways to engage volunteers is through strategic communication. Your organization’s process for managing volunteers should include a strategy of how, when, and why to communicate with volunteers. If your nonprofit is considering investing in a volunteer management software solution it is also important to consider how that tool can help your organization reach your communication goals.

Communication is crucial and cannot be overstated. Your nonprofit’s volunteer management process should use communication as a way to promote new opportunities to give, remind supporters of your nonprofit’s mission, and thank volunteers for their time.

Another opportunity for improving volunteer engagement through effective volunteer management is streamlined registration. Volunteers are already offering to provide your organization with their time via giving, do not take up too much of their time on an outdated registration process. Your organization’s volunteer registration process should be quick, effective, and allow volunteers to complete the process online.

Creating an effective volunteer management process, with the foundation of engagement, also should incorporate ease-of-use when it comes to volunteer registration. Today’s volunteers want to be able to quickly register for opportunities on the device of their choice. Your nonprofit should provide supporters with a streamlined, efficient, transparent, and easy to complete online registration system that allows volunteers to quickly identify opportunities of interest.

Integrate Volunteer Management Software and CRM

Utilizing a CRM solution (example: Blackbaud CRM, Salesforce) can provide your nonprofit with a systematic solution for managing relationships. CRM can become even more valuable for your organization when it is integrated with your nonprofits volunteer management solution. Integrating CRM and volunteer management software will allow your organization to bridge the gap between volunteer and donor data, identify cross-pollination opportunities, and gain a 360-degree view of all constituents in your database.

Here are a few case studies of organizations effectively managing volunteers:

Open Hand Atlanta

Tampa Bay Lightning

Meals on Wheels People


Your nonprofit should manage volunteers in a way that best aligns with your organization’s goals and desired outcomes. With that said, many organizations, like yours, are finding success by creating engagement with supporters, communicating opportunities strategically, developing a streamlined approach to volunteer registration, and by creating an integration path between CRM and volunteer management software.


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