How nonprofits can get a handle on volunteer recruitment
To support fundraising campaigns and implement special projects, nonprofits frequently depend on the hard work of volunteers from the community. In addition to a reliable staff, these unpaid individuals play an important role in making sure charities, foundations and other philanthropic enterprises are able to provide the services their mission has outlined. Without a consistent and passionate group of volunteers, many nonprofit groups would be hard-pressed to deliver the programs that are necessary for communities across the country. However, a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found there has be a slight decline in volunteerism over the past year. As a result, nonprofit organizations should take advantage of technology solutions that make recruiting and retaining volunteers much easier.
Volunteerism still a strong value
The NonProfit Times cited the BLS report that showed the volunteer rate dropped by 1.1 percent during 2013. In other words, roughly one-quarter of the U.S. population – or 62.6 million people – donated their time in support of a project or initiative during the past year. Despite the decrease in volunteering, Samantha Jo Warfield, spokesperson for the Corporation for National and Community Service, indicated unpaid work remains as a source of strength in the U.S. economy and nonprofit community.
“Volunteering is a core American value,” Warfield explained. “Our research has found that large numbers of Americans – more than 1 in 4 – regularly volunteer in their communities, and this rate has stayed relatively stable over the past 12 years.”
Volunteers benefit by developing new skills, connecting with larger networks of like-minded individuals and foster a greater sense of involvement in their local region. At the same time, nonprofits are able to work with a dedicated group of people who have a vested interest in improving their communities, which helps organizations develop stronger relationships with donors and other stakeholders.
To make sure they’re able to work with committed individuals, nonprofits have several resources that make recruiting and retaining unpaid staff more efficient:
- Volunteer management software
Identifying people who have a background in a particular project or are experienced in fundraising can sometimes be a challenge. However, this type of software helps nonprofit groups organize a large amount of information in an easily accessible database format. This tool allows fundraising professionals to keep detailed records of all individuals’ volunteering histories, including contact information, preferences – type of work and scheduling – and availability. What’s more, the software allows nonprofits to segment volunteers by multiple variables, in addition to giving them the chance to register online.
- Social networking sites
Meanwhile, Time magazine recently wrote that the working professional-oriented social network LinkedIn is working to expand its focus from mainly job opportunities to volunteering. In fact, the networking site opened the Volunteer Marketplace in January 2014 to help nonprofits and interested individuals connect. The move came largely as a result of the behavior existing LinkedIn members had already exhibited. Time said LinkedIn reported more than 3 million people on the site have included their experiences in volunteering with various organizations on their profile pages. The cost to post a volunteer opportunity ranges from $20 to $40.