Creating a strategic volunteer system that recruits, retains, reports, and manages volunteer information is easier than you think!
Creating a strategic volunteer system based on your nonprofits long-term and short-term goals can create success holistically for your program. Engagement affects recruitment and retention, communication effects engagement, and management effects communication and opportunity outreach.
Volunteer systems that work successfully have many moving parts that need to work in sync. How can your nonprofit create a volunteer system that wins for your organization?
Here are 5 tips to deploy today.
Automate with Volunteer Management Software
Did you know that 34% of nonprofits say lack of resources prevents volunteer impact assessment? The first step to creating a winning volunteer system is investing in the resources to sustain and measure it. Investing in a volunteer management solution can help your organization streamline process and fuel success.
Volunteer management software provides the capabilities to quickly and efficiently post volunteer opportunities, engage contacts, and report program metrics. Many nonprofits have saved hundreds of hours each year utilizing an automated volunteer management solution.
Take a look at a few of the management features that an automated volunteer system provides:
Deploying a volunteer management solution can set your nonprofit up for success and provide benefits for each interaction with supporters.
Create a volunteer system with engagement as the foundation
Without the right resources in place measuring volunteer engagement is close to impossible. Such an important component of success cannot be put to the wayside if you want your program to succeed. Engagement should be the foundation of your volunteer system and process. Keeping volunteers engaged can yield higher retention rates and increase opportunity fulfillment rates.
Creating engagement is all about building strong relationships, creating connections and driving high levels of commitment.
Here are a few ways to engage volunteers:
- Provide in-depth on-boarding and on-going volunteer training opportunities to sharpen skills and reinstill commitment.
- Focus on the interests of each volunteer when placing them into an organizational role.
- Understand and leverage volunteer motivations for providing service (how can your organization appeal to these motives)
- Consistently reinforce the importance of each volunteer by providing recognition and rewards for commitment.
Did you know that volunteer management software can help drive engagement?
Here are some ways to measure engagement:
- Actively measure retention rates before and after launching engagement strategies.
- Send and track volunteer satisfaction by surveying supporters.
- Track the average # of hours served / per year by volunteers (see if that number increases or decreases – find out why)
- Focus on measuring volunteer impact
Place volunteers in the most effective role
Finding the right volunteer for each opportunity is crucial to mission attainment. Your organization needs to recognize the importance of volunteers and spend time on recruiting quality talent. Identifying the right volunteer for a specific role starts by having a recruitment game plan and evaluation process in place.
Here are a few tips for creating a successful recruitment strategy:
- Ask all volunteer prospects for their interests and aspirations regarding volunteerism.
- Always screen volunteers to make sure they are the right fit for the job (It’s better to have an empty seat than the wrong supporter).
- Consider existing volunteer contacts (use database) when recruiting for a new position.
- Create opportunity descriptions that speak to the nature of the work entailed and your organization’s values.
- Allow ample amounts of time (prior to fulfillment) to find the right volunteer.
- Cast a wide net (explore many recruitment avenues)
- Develop a recruitment team and strategies based on past experiences.
Volunteer management solutions can help your nonprofit recruit volunteers! Learn more about our volunteer recruitment features.
Enhance your volunteer system through strategic orientation
Once you have successfully recruited volunteers its time to provide them with an arsenal of information to perform their role to the best of their abilities. Orientation is an important step in creating a volunteer system that works.
Your organization should use orientation as an opportunity to introduce volunteers to others (staff, volunteers), discuss duties and procedures, provide direct contacts, and emphasize the impact made on the community.
Here are a few volunteer orientation tips to consider:
- Provide volunteers with necessary resources such as a handbook, information about your organization, contact information, and next steps.
- Discuss the volunteer role in detail and introduce each volunteer to another volunteer they can shadow (if possible).
- Reinforce your organization’s mission, values, and goals by providing real quantifiable success stories and metrics that demonstrate impact.
- Invite volunteer trainees to introduce your organization to others in their network (referrals matter).
Make streamlined access to opportunity sign-up a key differentiator for your organization
In today’s tech-savvy world ease of access matter for volunteers of all ages. Moving away from a manual volunteer system and making the process automated can have a big impact on your volunteer program’s success. Manual paper-heavy processes can scare away volunteers and cause a disconnect in recruitment and retention.
Prospects and current supporters should be able to easily access your nonprofit’s website, identify an opportunity of interest, sign-up, complete necessary waivers, and receive communications from your organization regarding next steps in the process.
Incorporating tools that can streamline the steps from interest to sign-up can create an instant differentiator, save your staff time, and ultimately lead to improvements in other areas (more time to focus on other aspects of the program).