Offering micro-volunteer opportunities can help an organization reach more volunteers and leverage new skills. Here is what micro-volunteering is, what it is not, and how nonprofits can best utilize it.
One of the biggest challenges today, for most people, is limited amounts of time. Between work, family commitments, and other obligations time can be sparse. In fact, according to a study commissioned by H&R Block, the average person has just 4 hours and 26 minutes of free time per week. As a nonprofit organization reliant on volunteers, it is key to entice people to provide some of this limited resource in exchange for the greater good. So, how can a volunteer program recruit, engage, and manage volunteer prospects who have limited time? One option is providing micro-volunteer opportunities.
What is Micro-Volunteering?
Micro-volunteerism is a new rising trend in the nonprofit community. Essentially, it refers to the process of providing short-term, low-commitment opportunities as a way to engage more volunteer prospects and create value. Micro-volunteering is built on the idea that people are more likely to volunteer if short and convenient assignments are offered. According to The Institute of Volunteering Research and the National Council for Voluntary Organizations (NCVO), micro-volunteerism was created as a response to the growing demand for short-term flexible volunteer opportunities.
With traditional volunteer opportunities spanning from 5 to 9 hours per shift, micro-volunteerism provides time-crunched volunteer prospects with opportunities ranging from 15 minutes to an hour. A few examples of micro-volunteer opportunities include providing feedback on marketing material, providing a case study, sorting food or recyclables, collecting goods for donation, managing an event, planting a tree, and designing a logo. These are just a few examples in which short-term help could be utilized, but, the possibilities are endless.
What are the Benefits of Micro-Volunteering?
Micro-volunteering is not a replacement for traditional volunteerism, but, it does provide nonprofit organizations and volunteers with benefits. A few of these key benefits include:
Benefits for a Nonprofit
- The ability to broaden its volunteer database.
- Access to skilled volunteers for short-term assignments.
- The potential to covert micro-volunteers to traditional volunteers.
- A new way to engage volunteers and keep them motivated.
- Increased diversity amongst volunteers.
Benefits for Volunteers
- More flexibility when it comes to volunteering.
- The ability to volunteer for short outcome-focused assignments.
- The ability to learn more about an organization before fully committing.
- The potential to use skills for the greater good.
Additional Resources on Micro-Volunteering
Micro-volunteering: Are Short-Term Assignments More Productive
How to Develop a Micro-Volunteering Action
Recruit, Engage, and Manage Micro-Volunteers
Regardless of how short or long a volunteer shift is, it is crucial that nonprofit organizations create a plan for recruiting, engaging, and managing volunteers. Providing a great experience for micro-volunteers is just as important as creating a great experience for traditional volunteers. Investing in volunteer management software can help an organization create a unified, streamlined experience for all volunteers.
There are many benefits of volunteer software, ideal for recruiting, engaging, and managing volunteers of all kinds. Here are just a couple of the benefits of VolunteerHub (industry-leading volunteer management software):
Benefits for a Nonprofit
- Access to volunteer data from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Mobile app.
- Integration with industry-leading CRM systems.
- Integration with Google Analytics.
- Ability to create event-specific landing pages.
- Online volunteer recruitment.
- Communication capabilities (reminders, thank you’s)
- Time-saving features for coordinators.
- Improved volunteer engagement
Benefits for Volunteers
- Ease of finding and registering for opportunities.
- Access to opportunities from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Automated reminders.
- Access to details about volunteer opportunities.
- Rewards and recognition
Providing volunteers with new and innovative ways to get involved is a trend that we hope continues to grow. Micro-volunteering is a unique way for volunteers to get their foot in the door, support causes without a substantial time commitment, and practice their skills.
With the right planning, supporting software, and processes, nonprofit organizations can use micro-volunteerism as a way to grow their volunteer database, access skilled volunteers for short-term assignments, and keep existing volunteers motivated. For nonprofits interested in leveraging micro-volunteers, volunteer management software can help.