Managing time can be tough for volunteer coordinators. Here are five time-management strategies to consider when your volunteer program is growing.
Time management is essential for volunteer coordinators who want to grow their organization’s volunteer program, build internal and external relationships, and measure program impact. Managing time strategically starts by creating supporting processes, identifying weaknesses, and leveraging opportunities to streamline program management.
A recent study, by Harvard Business Review, actually found that the average employee wastes 21.8 hours per week on low-value tasks and interruptions. For most volunteer coordinators, who are operating with little time to waste, 21 hours of mismanaged time per week could be devastating to the bottom-line.
If time-management is a concern for your nonprofits volunteer coordinator (it should be!) there are steps that your organization can take to ensure you are getting the most of their time and providing them with the support they need to be successful at the same time.
Here are five time-management strategies to consider:
Help Volunteer Coordinators Prioritize & Eliminate Distractions
Reaching strategic goals becomes a challenge when priorities are not set. Working with your volunteer coordinator to identify your volunteer programs most critical tasks is an important step your organization can take towards goal attainment. What tasks will positively impact your volunteer program the most? Does your volunteer coordinator have the support of the entire team when working towards a critical task?
Support should include allowing your volunteer coordinator to focus on completing priorities in the most distraction-free environment as possible. Did you know that the average employee only spends 12 min and 40 seconds on a task before they are interrupted? Your team should strive to eliminate distractions and help each other reach goals that improve the entire program as a whole.
Here are some tips on eliminating workplace distractions
Set Time Limits
How much time your volunteer coordinator invests in a task should be dependent on what it is and how high on the priority list it falls (see tip above). Reviewing priorities and creating a daily task-management plan can help your volunteer coordinator make the most of their time and be as productive as possible. You can help your volunteer coordinator set time limits on each of their tasks in an effort to be more efficient. If you find that your volunteer coordinator is exceeding time limits your organization may want to consider providing them with additional support or tools to streamline processes.
Invest in the Right Supporting Tools
Manual processes can quickly eat up a volunteer coordinators time and prevent them from reaching program goals. At VolunteerHub, we have talked to many volunteer coordinators who spend hundreds of hours a year managing their volunteer program with paper and spreadsheets and communicating with supporters via one-off emails and phone calls.
Managing your volunteer program manually may work when your organization is small (low volunteer hours) but what happens when your volunteer program grows and needs the support of hundreds or thousands of volunteers per year? Trying to manage a large volunteer program without supporting tools is inefficient, can cause excess stress on a volunteer coordinator, and will set them up for failure.
If your nonprofit is looking for supporting tools for your volunteer coordinator, you may want to consider volunteer management software. Volunteer management software, like VolunteerHub, can allow volunteers to self-register and update their account, provide communication tools for coordinators, and streamline the process of managing and reporting program data.
Learn more about our volunteer management software features.
Perform Ongoing Time Audits
As mentioned earlier in this post, time-management is key for volunteer coordinators and developing time limits for tasks can help keep coordinators on track and productive. A time audit can help to ensure that your coordinator sticks to the plan, is held accountable, and has access to the ongoing support that they need from management to be successful in their role.
Time audits should be relaxed and allow your volunteer coordinator to speak freely about any challenges or barriers to success that they have run into. Make these meeting frequent and use feedback to optimize time management practices.
Here are additional tips on-time audits
Be Supportive and Patient
It goes without saying that volunteer coordinators need support to be successful. The role of volunteer coordinator is challenging and optimization to your volunteer coordination process requires patience, strategy, feedback, and recognition. Provide your volunteer coordinators with the tools that they need to be successful, the support of your team, and both positive and critical feedback if you want the best results.
Investing time in identifying time management strategies to support your volunteer coordinator and their ability to reach goals is crucial to the success of your volunteer program. Make sure that you work with your coordinator to set priorities, eliminate distractions, set time-limits, identify and invest in supporting tools, and perform ongoing audits to optimize performance, efficiency, and productivity. Finally, be supportive of your volunteer coordinator by providing feedback and recognition when they reach a milestone.