Volunteer managers face many challenges

Finding volunteers to help your organization is made easier through the use of nonprofit software.
Date Published
10/13/2015

As a supervisor of a nonprofit volunteer management system, you know how difficult it is to build a team of dedicated individuals with limited resources. Often, this is where volunteers come in. They can help an organization complete what needs to be done. While your organization doesn’t have to pay volunteers, you do have to spend time and resources finding, managing and directing volunteers.

Recruitment
Most of the time, volunteers don’t just wander into a nonprofit organization. Instead, your organization has to actively recruit people. According to Getting Attention, nonprofits have to go where people who are likely to volunteer spend their time. This may mean attending a career or job fair,as well as visiting schools, universities or certain online communities. Targeting the correct audience will help your nonprofit find good personnel.

During on-site recruitment, make sure to bring a computer so people can enter their contact information into your nonprofit software database. That way, you don’t have to track people down through email later.

Utilization
While finding and recruiting the right people is one thing, all volunteer managers know it is extremely difficult to properly utilize and manage volunteers once they sign up with the organization. Sometimes this simply comes down to communication. Corresponding with volunteers through email is best in most cases. Managing the appropriate email lists and tracking other contact info is needed to do communicate effectively. A nonprofit software solution is one of the best ways to manage information. When you can easily communicate with your volunteers, you’ll have an easier time bringing them in to get work done or asking them to complete certain tasks on specific days.

In addition to easily contacting volunteers, you also need to know what skills people have. A nonprofit software solution can help compile this kind of data, too. The more information you have the better you can use volunteers’ abilities and strengths.

Retention
Retaining volunteers is perhaps one of the biggest issues for nonprofits. Many infrequent volunteers will disappear eventually. For this reason, it is important to keep them involved in what the organization does and its importance to the community. If volunteers feel they are making a difference, they are more likely to continue working with your organization. Provide volunteers with newsletters and regular correspondence showcasing how their work has impacted the community and the organization’s programs.

Also, consider building a strong internal volunteer community. When you build a tight knit group of volunteers, you’re more likely to always see the same faces. According to World Volunteer Web, it is beneficial to have chat rooms and other online forums for like-minded volunteers to talk and share information. You should host physical events as well, but don’t neglect online groups. Social media is a great place to start. Facebook and Twitter are two great resources to use for building a volunteer community online, but also consider having a volunteer portal on your own website where people can register, connect and share.

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