As COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, many will be looking to nonprofit organizations for help and support. Here are some tips on how your Volunteer Manager can respond.
The COVID-19 pandemic is upon us and it is an important time for Volunteer Managers to have a plan in place for responding to community needs. Many nonprofits have ramped up the need for support and are creating new goals, centered around impact. How is your organization responding?
Your Volunteer Manager plays a critical role in organizing, recruiting, communicating, and executing the organization’s volunteer program to meet these goals. The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to put pressure on nonprofits and their Volunteer Managers to have organized strategies and infrastructure in place for growing demand and need.
Here are a few nonprofit sectors experiencing increased demand:
(Note: Even if your nonprofit organization does not fit in the above categories, now is still time to prepare for an influx in need)
Now is the time for your Volunteer Manager to evaluate your organization’s volunteer program, the forecasted need of the community as COVID-19 expands, and the tools your nonprofit has in place to support the program infrastructure.
Here are a few questions your organization’s Volunteer Manager should ask when determining how to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Questions for your Volunteer Manager to Consider:
Does our volunteer program have the tools in place to scale if demand increases?
What are the goals of our volunteer program? How could these goals change amid COVID-19?
Does our organization have the capacity to take on new volunteers safely?
Does our volunteer program have the resources to quickly communicate with volunteers effectively?
How quickly can our volunteer program adapt to changes?
Do we need any tools to support our volunteer program now?
One of the best ways for your nonprofit and Volunteer Manager to prepare for a surge in need, from COVID-19, is through organization and strategic planning. The infrastructure of your volunteer management system will need to be scalable as need in the community increases. Strategic volunteer management includes recruitment, communication, registration, and management / effective translation of data.
Communication is Crucial
Communication during a pandemic, like COVID-19, is crucial. Effective communication will provide organizational volunteers with information about how your nonprofit is responding, the safety precautions put in place to protect volunteers and how supporters can remain involved.
Consider implementing the following tips:
- Send volunteers regular updates.
- Provide volunteers with COVID-19 resources.
- Communicate how your organization will incorporate social distancing.
- Use multiple communication channels (emails, texts, social).
- Be as transparent as possible (this is a scary time for everyone).
Safety Needs to be a Priority
The safety of volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic should be one of your organization’s top concerns. There are a few ways to keep volunteers safe and lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
Here are a few safety protocols:
- Practice social distancing and remind volunteers of its importance.
- Provide volunteers with access to hand sanitizer and soap/sinks to wash hands.
- Remind volunteers to stay home if they feel sick.
- Take the temperature of volunteers before, during and after shifts.
Leverage the resources available from official agencies
There are many resources available from official agencies on how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Use these resources when planning.
Here are a few resources to review:
National Information Resources on COVID-19 (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
VolunteerHub is Here to Help!
Deploying a strategic volunteer management solution can help your volunteer program respond quickly to growing need and demand. VolunteerHub can help your organization recruit, engage, and manage supporters during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are interested in learning more about VolunteerHub, watch this video on how the solution works.