A strategic volunteer management plan offers nonprofits many benefits including increased organizational engagement, better retention rates, and more referral opportunities.

What steps is your nonprofit taking to effectively manage your volunteer-base? Creating and implementing a strategic volunteer management plan is one of the first steps your nonprofit should take when developing and setting goals for your volunteer program. Does your organization understand and analyze the impact your volunteers are making on your mission and goals?

Did you know that only 55% of nonprofits measure volunteer impact?

Measuring volunteer impact is a key component of creating a strategic volunteer management plan that yields positive results for your organization.

A volunteer management plan can help your organization develop a roadmap and address a few common volunteer program efficiency questions.

These questions are:

  • How will your nonprofit recruit and retain volunteers?
  • How will your nonprofit communicate with supporters and how often?
  • What steps will your organization take to engage volunteers and prospects?
  • How will your organization identify the right volunteer for the right opportunity?
  • How will your volunteer management plan account for organizational growth in the future?

Now that we have covered a few of the questions your plan should answer let’s discuss 5 ways to improve your process.


Build engagement into your volunteer management plan

To say engagement should be an important aspect of your volunteer management plan is an understatement. Engagement needs to be part of the foundation for which your plan is built off of.

Engagement has a direct correlation with retention and converting volunteers to lifelong supporters. There are many ways that your organization can engage volunteers.

A few of the most popular strategies today are providing volunteers incentives, developing a reward system, creating leadership opportunities, and recognizing achievements. The value of a volunteer hour continues to increase year-over-year. How will your nonprofit recognize volunteer value and use engagement to retain it?


Learn additional tips for keeping volunteers engaged by downloading our “7 Tips for Reviewing Your Volunteer Program” whitepaper.


Understand the Needs of Your Volunteers

Sometimes it is easy to forget that volunteers also have goals of their own. Volunteers have made a personal commitment to your organization and have their own set of expectations for the experience.

Your organization’s volunteer management plan needs to identify and incorporate these volunteer motivations as an appeal for your program.

Nonprofits can identify volunteer needs and motivations by collecting data on volunteer satisfaction surveys.

Here are a few reasons volunteers commit their time:

  1. Individuals have a personal tie to a nonprofits mission, goals, and values.
  2. Individuals are looking for opportunities to meet and network with new people.
  3. Individuals have a moral compass to do good.
  4. Individuals are in search of skill-building opportunities.
  5. Individuals want to practice leadership capacities.
  6. Individuals are looking for ways to build their personal resume.
  7. Individuals were asked to participate in a volunteer opportunity.


Learn more about who volunteers and why.


Remember to Have a Tangible Goal for Your Volunteer Management Plan

One of the most crucial aspects of your organization’s volunteer management system and plan is the identification of program goals.

What is your organization hoping to achieve by deploying your strategic plan? Determining goals will help your organization to outline the steps necessary to reach them.

Remember that goals are impossible to reach if they have not been set for your program.

Some common goals that a strategic volunteer management plan hope to solve are:

  1. Support paid staff so they can more effectively do their job.
  2. Create more advocates and supporters for your organization.
  3. Create awareness around organizational opportunities.
  4. Increase nonprofit services and support for the community.
  5. Provide training and/or career development opportunities for supporters.

Whatever goals your organization decides on for your volunteer management plan should be SMART. Learn more about the benefits of setting SMART volunteer program goals.  


Track and Analyze Volunteer Data Often

The best way to create optimal success for your volunteer management plan is by making decisions based on data.

Becoming a data-driven nonprofit can help your organization to improve the shortcomings of your program and enhance positive outcomes.

Deploying a volunteer management software solution is one of the best ways to track and leverage volunteer trends.

A volunteer management solution can provide your program the ability to:

  1. Create event specific campaign pages.
  2. Improve communication with supporters through automated messaging.
  3. Deploy rewards, recognition, and gamification.
  4. Enhance the recruitment process with easy access to your organization’s volunteer database.
  5. Integrate with your CRM system for better insights.
  6. Streamline the volunteer registration process.

Do you want to learn more about the benefits of volunteer management software? Download our case study “What to Look for in Volunteer Management Software”


Recruit with Intent

Volunteers today want to know that their time is going to be utilized to make the biggest impact on the greater good.

To recruit the right volunteer for the right role your organization needs to know the exact details of the opportunity you are wanting to fill. Knowing the details of how a volunteer prospect will fit into an organizational role shows preparation to volunteers and helps to identify the best candidate.

Understanding the skills your organization is looking for will also make the process of leveraging your volunteer database as a source of talent easier. Finally, be sure to provide prospects with a job description that outlines the details of each opportunity.


Final Thoughts

Creating a strategic volunteer management plan can help your organization to fulfill and drive your mission. Remember to build engagement into your plan, understand the needs of your volunteers, look for trends and optimization opportunities in your volunteer data, and recruit with intent.


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