A Guide to Your New Volunteer Coordinator Job

Congratulations! You got the job that makes a difference for so many people and nonprofits. You’re now a Volunteer Coordinator 💁‍♀️ (or manager, or specialist, or whichever title you have that says basically, you’re in charge of your organization’s volunteers). The wonderful world of juggling, planning, promoting, and engaging volunteers in your community is yours to take the lead with. But you might be thinking, “Okay, now what?!”

Remember, we are all human and all we can do is take the next best step every day. Plus, we’re here to show you how to break down this role into bite-sized pieces so you can get the hang of it in no time!

Read on to learn more about all the areas of your volunteer coordinator job, build a plan that meets your organization’s goals, and walk away with a checklist to use as you step into this new adventure. 

A Guide to Your New Volunteer Coordinator Job

🧡 Volunteer Coordinator: Free Workshops

Good news! Our incredible team here at POINT will be launched FREE workshops specifically designed for volunteer coordinators so you can create efficiency, ease, and deeper engagement with your volunteers.

We launched these workships because know volunteer coordinators feel like there is just not enough time in the day😩 We get it, we’ve been there. But we have even more good news! A lot of your manual tasks can be automated and we can help with that. Just create a free POINT account and give yourself the tools you need to excel in your new job.

Before you dive in to making change in your community, let’s take a 30,000-foot view of what a Volunteer Manager/Coordinator/Specialist does. You can break down your new gig into four areas:

  • Volunteer management
  • Marketing and communications
  • Collaboration
  • Administration

🙌 Effective Volunteer Management

This truly is your main day-to-day work. You’ll be finding new people to help your org, keeping current volunteers engaged, sending emails 📧, answering the phone 📱, building partnerships, coordinating with coworkers, collecting data 🔢, writing reports, building budgets 📈, and the classic “other duties as assigned.”

👉 Read more of our volunteer management tips

So how do you get started? First thing’s first, build up a stockpile of people power (aka volunteers).

Building a volunteer pool

ResponsibilityWhatWhyQuestions to Ask Yourself
Marketing and Communications– Website
– Email
– Facebook
– Instagram
– TikTok
– LinkedIn
– What’s App 
– Slack
– Phone calls/ texts
To get more volunteers involved with clear and engaging messaging.

Understanding where people in your community go for information.

Being kept in the know is important to keep volunteers involved and engaged.
What does our website say about volunteering? Is it easy to understand and get involved?

Do our social channels tell the story about the importance of and impact of our volunteers?

Are the channels (like email) that we use the best ones to engage our volunteers? How can we meet them where they’re at?
Outreach and Recruitment 
– Identify current organizational needs 
– Create ways to volunteer that tap into a range of skillsets
– Awareness of involvement options
– Applications 
– Interviews
The more people who know what you do, why you do it, and how they can get involved, the easier it will be to build up your volunteer program. 

Clearly communicate the process (i.e. volunteers need to sign up, interview, and complete orientation OR volunteers need to apply, attend orientation and then sign up for the opportunities they want to help with).

Creating opportunities to match your volunteers’ preferences and abilities helps with engagement while delivering great community value.
Do you know if you have a recruitment process? Before the volunteer moves into onboarding what needs to happen?

What are the ongoing volunteer needs of your organization?

Are there opportunities to engage a diverse range of volunteers’ skills, interests, and availability?

Have you included everything needed? Ask your staff, board, committees, and current volunteers for feedback. The goal should be to have a range of experiences available to engage all types of volunteers – millennials, experienced, new to the industry, new to the area, retirees, etc. Talking to different groups may also help you realize ways you could better meet the needs of the communities, and shape volunteer opportunities around those.

Onboarding volunteers

Once you’ve found people who want to help your org, you’ve gotta get them started off on the right foot. That’s where your onboarding tasks come into play.

ResponsibilityWhatWhyQuestions to Ask Yourself
Onboard– Orientation 
– Paperwork
– Matching skills/interests
– Organizing/admin
Improve retention and engagement by empowering new volunteers to be confident and knowledgeable about your work. 

There will be paperwork and keeping this organized will help with volunteer tracking. POINT can help with that!
What is included in your volunteer onboarding process?

Are there questions you find yourself answering regularly and should be included in the onboarding?

How are you keeping track of the forms and agreements from volunteers?
Train– DEI
– Cultural sensitivity
– Food safety
– General safety (e.g. if machinery or tools are involved)
– Any certifications needed to work with the community you serve (e.g. domestic violence survivors)
Your nonprofit may have unique needs that require volunteers to have specialized knowledge or be aware of specific processes and procedures to keep both volunteers and the community you serve safe. Is there specific training that volunteers need to be successful?

If so, how can they access the training? Will your organization pay for the training if needed? Is it done day-of or in advance? Do you have the right resources internally to train volunteers or do you need to bring in a specialist?
Schedule– Create a schedule of volunteer opportunities in line with your one time and/or ongoing needs
– Provide ways for people to easily sign up
– Communicate volunteer schedules with staff

Volunteers need to know how to sign up and when they are scheduled, and staff needs to know when to expect volunteers and how many.

Volunteers and staff are all on the same page about expectations.

Is it easy for volunteers to sign up to volunteer? Check out POINT’s Volunteer Hub.

How do staff know who is coming and when?

What happens if someone cancels?

Following up with volunteers

Your volunteers are your best source of information for how you can improve your program. So reach out! Follow up after their experience and take a pulse on what’s working and what’s not.

ResponsibilityWhatWhyQuestions to Ask Yourself
EvaluationDetermine if the communication, marketing, and onboarding/training procedures are working. 

Talk to your volunteers to hear about their experiences.
Reflect on if volunteer programs are having the intended outcomes.

Identify areas for improvement for your volunteer experience (and staff experience with volunteer help).

Doing this improves community impact.
When was the last time you reviewed if your efforts were working? 

Are you seeing the impact you hoped for?

Are there enough volunteers and programs to meet the needs of your community? 
RecognitionCelebrate the milestones and the contributions of those who make your volunteer program come alive. This can include lots of different things – from personalized thank-you emails to little gifts.Taking time to recognize the efforts of those in your program keeps people engaged and committed to the work.

Feeling appreciated and seen for their efforts helps you build good relationships with volunteers. 
Do you have a recognition program?

How does your volunteer community like to be recognized?

What is unique about your volunteer program that can be celebrated?

✍️ Marketing and Communications as a Volunteer Coordinator

Equally important to the volunteer coordinator job are all the things that go into telling the world about your volunteer program and impact 💪. While this may be work that is not *necessarily* directly geared towards recruitment, your ability to tell the story of your nonprofit impact is key to getting the general public interested in giving their time and/or money.

ChannelCommunication GoalsWhyQuestions to Ask Yourself
Website, social media, emailShare engaging information about your volunteer program and the impact it makes in the community.This is how people will decide if they want to get involved. Knowing the story of your mission and impact helps people decide if it is aligned with how they want to help their community.What does our website say about our volunteer program?
Is the impact story we tell compelling?

Do we show how easy it is to get involved? Do we have calls to action that clearly state how and when people can get involved?

How can interested people learn more? Do we have links to information sessions?
Group presentations
(e.g. to businesses, schools, or civic organizations)
Highlight what volunteers do at your organization and how to get involved.Build awareness and create engagement around group volunteer opportunities (for example, corporate volunteer days).

Bring together large groups of people who can learn about your impact together. 
What groups can you identify that would be interested? A local high school or college? Chamber of Commerce? Rotaries?

When a group does volunteer, how can they strengthen their team relationships while at the same time helping your work?

🤝 Collaboration Opportunities as a Volunteer Coordinator

In addition, with the volunteer coordinator job, you will be working across teams to meet the needs of the whole organization. So it’s key to listen 👂to staff needs, communicating volunteer expectations clearly in order to meet those, and create space for staff and volunteers to work together toward agreed-upon goals and outcomes. 

ResponsibilityWhatWhyQuestions to Ask Yourself
Partner with other departments/ teams Listen to other teams and departments about needs and gaps. Work together to identify ways to intentionally partner with volunteers to meet those needs.

Partnering with other departments to understand and address their needs helps volunteers to contribute in meaningful ways and helps staff increase their capacity to do the many other tasks sitting on our to-do list. ✅What are the needs of other departments? How can I connect volunteer tasks to other organizational needs?

How can volunteer impact be maximized? (For example, work with your Development Teams to identify ways to connect volunteers to donor programs, report volunteer data and impact for grants, etc.)

📝 Administration as a Volunteer Coordinator

Finally, you’ll documentation of all the things within the volunteer coordinator job—volunteer waivers, emails, payments, donations, agreements, and more. Creating a streamlined process for these administrative details can keep it all together and organized.

ResponsibilityWhatWhyQuestions to Ask Yourself
Data management– Volunteer lists and databases
– Volunteer hours and impact
– Organizational/
Program data
Tracking volunteer information helps you keep people engaged, or can inform retention strategies.

Collecting and reporting volunteer impact data (like hours served, event spots filled, etc.) can help you get grant funding or report on program success.

Where are your lists? How accessible are they?

Do you have a paper and pen process? Are there tools in place to help you track, manage, and report useful data? POINT is a great free tool that can kickstart your volunteer program or refresh/update how you manage it.
Budget and Financial AnalysisCreating, following, and reporting on revenue and expenses as a team and an organization.The volunteer program is one part of a larger puzzle. The program must meet expenses as agreed upon in the budget approval process.

Organizations giving you grants and/or sponsorships want to know where the money was used.
What is your budget? Was it enough to cover your needs? Was it too little, too much?

Do you have restricted funds?

How do you track your expenses?

What do you need to report for grants?
Policy and procedure development and implementation– Developing policies and procedures to keep volunteers, staff, and clients safe
– Communicating these clearly and repeatedly to ensure everyone knows and follows them
– Reviewing and updating these as needed
These are in place to protect both the organization and your volunteers.

When was the last time your volunteer policies and procedures were reviewed? Has your program changed and evolved since then? What new policies would be helpful to protect volunteers, staff, and clients?

Being successful in a volunteer coordinator job

Always know that you are not alone in your volunteer coordinator job! There is a whole community of people who work with volunteers at nonprofits. Consider taking some time to join industry groups and read through resources; you will have this whole volunteer program thing down before you know it! Plus, we will always be here with helpful content to empower you and your organization.

You can use the information above as a ✅list to make sure you’ve always got the guidance you need to succeed.

🧡 what you just read? Be sure to subscribe to the Good POINT Blog using the form below👇 and share our post with your colleagues on LinkedIn! Are you curious how POINT can level up your volunteer program? Book a free, live demo with our team!

Photo Brandy Strand
Brandy Strand
Nonprofit Partnerships Account Executive

No guilt trips, no sad stories. Just a chance to do something good.