Volunteer Management Tips for 2024
The world has changed in the past couple years, and so has the world of volunteer management. In 2024, use these tips to level up your volunteer programming and set your organization up for success! But we know volunteer management can cover a loooot.
In this article we cover some tips and tools to help with volunteer management.
If you want to dive deeper, we have an entire (free!) workshop that has tons of lessons and activities all about volunteer management for your specific organization. We highly recommend you check it out!
Volunteer Management: The Key to Successful Nonprofit Organizations
As a nonprofit organization, your main goal is to make a positive impact in the community and achieve your mission. However, to do so, you need a strong and dedicated team of volunteers.
Volunteer management is the process of recruiting, training, and supervising volunteers to ensure they are making the most of their time and skills. It’s also about ensuring that volunteers feel valued, supported, and engaged in their work.
Why is Volunteer Management Important for Nonprofits?
Volunteers are a vital part of the nonprofit sector, contributing their time, skills, and expertise to support the organization’s mission. According to the Independent Sector, the estimated value of a volunteer hour in the United States is $31.80 in 2023. Which means that you are getting a loooot of bang for your buck by using volunteers to support your mission!
Effective management is key to building a strong, motivated, and dedicated volunteer team. When volunteers feel valued and supported, they are more likely to remain engaged, committed, and motivated. Great management reduces turnover, as volunteers who feel fulfilled and appreciated in their roles are less likely to leave.
Step 1: Volunteer Recruitment
Volunteers are a crucial part of any nonprofit’s success. They are generous with their time (and often their money!) because they believe so strongly in the causes you work for. But it can be time-consuming to recruit new volunteers. Here are some of our tried and true ways to make that a little easier.
📲 Meet volunteers where they are are—on their phones.
Did you know that the average American checks their phone 144 times per day? Forreal. So use that to your advantage.
Connect with potential and current volunteers on social media, send text reminders or calls to action, or use a platform with a volunteer app. This is especially important if your organization relies on volunteers who are in the Gen X, Millennial, or Gen Z generations.
🙋 Give volunteers an easy—and instant—way to sign up
The more steps there are in your sign up process, the more likely people are to drop off. Keep it as streamlined as possible. Playing phone or email tag isn’t enjoyable for anyone, and takes time.
Give your volunteers a way to sign up quickly and easily—through forms, links with calendar invites, or by using a platform with an instant sign-up feature.
👩💻 Use volunteer tech to your advantage
When your tech is clunky and outdated, it can feel hard to want to use it. But there are so many ways tech adoption can benefit volunteer programs! Look into tech that will make your life easier, and solve a problem for you. We have some ideas!
- Use integrations to streamline between platforms
- Use social media to connect with volunteers
- Test using AI to help write catchy social media captions or posts
- Test using AI to draft mass emails
- Use volunteer management software with automatic reporting
- Take advantage of Google Ad grants for nonprofits
Volunteer Management Tips
We know that being a volunteer coordinator is a job that requires you to manage a loooot of different moving parts (we made a guide to help newbies out!). You wear many hats, and make sure your organization has the peoplepower you need to achieve the impact you want. That’s important work! Here are a few ways to make sure that work is maximized.
🛠 Use tools built specifically for nonprofits
We know there are a lot of tech solutions out there that you can hack together to fit your needs.
But wouldn’t it be so much easier if there was actual user-friendly tech out there designed specifically for nonprofits? Well, there is!
Volunteer management systems (VMS) are tech solutions built for nonprofits. The best VMS help you not only manage your volunteers, but also engage with them and track stats to help with your reporting.
🙌 Level up your volunteer event management
Creating a great volunteer experience is key to successful events that encourage volunteers to come back. For this, consider both the logistics and impact.
People want to feel that the work they’re doing at nonprofits truly helps. Make sure volunteers understand their impact. Let them know at the beginning of the event why it matters and how what they’ll be doing affects your mission, and at the end give ’em numbers! How many donations did they sort? How many meals did they serve? They want to know!
Also, you can make your life easier by upleveling your logistics. Streamline your volunteer checkin stations, and choose a VMS that sends people automatic event reminders and thank you’s. That alone can save you a couple hours each week!
🤝 Build strong community partnerships
Collaboration is the key to a sustainable future! In more ways than one! Build strong partnerships with other nonprofits in your community to collaborate and combine resources. Or invest time into building partnerships with local companies and schools.
Use these partnerships to get groups of volunteers to come out on a regular basis—like once per month, or quarter, or semester. You can also use these partnerships to source skills-based volunteers, or start matching gift campaigns. Co-host events with your partners on POINT and make sure to share out event impact data!
🔍 Make volunteer background checks easy
Running background checks for volunteers is often a necessity. Using a VMS that offers a background check integration can streamline the process, and even automate requests for new volunteers.
You can also make sure that you’re only requesting checks for volunteers where it’s most needed. If you have volunteers that won’t be interacting with clients and just working behind the scenes, they might not need one. Every organization has different needs, but there are tools that exist to support you.
👥 Invest in your group and program management
Believe us, it makes a difference to have tools built specifically for managing volunteer groups and separate programs. Forget trying to track everything in an Excel document or having 17 email lists to manage, there are tools out there for this!
Use tech that lets you create volunteer groups and separate events by programs, like our paid POINT plans. We even automatically keep track of impact data per group or program. That makes it sooooo much easier for you to provide updates to your Board, funding sources, and even to your internal teams.
Tips to Automate Volunteer Management Tasks
Trust us, we do NOT want tech to replace you (how can it?!). We just want you to be able to work smarter, not harder! Make the time-consuming but easy tasks automatic. That way you can re-invest time in the tasks that truly need your attention, like growing your impact and building relationships with volunteers and partners.
✍️ Automate your volunteer reminder & thank you emails
You can do this the DIY way, or use a free VMS that does it for you (we think it’s a no-brainer!).
If you want to DIY this, you can do a couple things. Either write up email templates for reminders and thank you’s that you can copy and paste to send out. Or you can use a email automation system and set up an automated email chain that’s triggered by event sign ups.
But if you want to go the easy route, POINT does this automatically—yes especially on our free plans🤩 Every time a volunteer signs up for an event, we bug them so you don’t have to. We send a couple reminders (or push notifications!) leading up to the event, and a thank you after. You don’t have to lift a finger!
📊 Set yourself up for end of year impact reporting
Figure out what metrics you want to track throughout the year that will help you showcase your impact in your annual reports. You can hack this in Excel if you need to, or just use POINT. Set up a spreadsheet so that you can simply add data as the year goes on, and it aggregates it to show you annual impact stats. We have a whole bunch of ideas of what you can track for a better impact report.
You can also rely on your VMS to automate this for you. Choose a system that automatically tracks volunteer data, and gives you the ability to cut data multiple ways (e.g., by groups, programs, or timeframes). Even better if it gives your volunteers their own automatic impact report too 😉
♻️ Create recurring volunteer events
This is best if you’re an org that has the same type of volunteer event regularly. (Think: packing meals for distribution, sorting donations, serving dinner, tutoring, etc.) There are a couple of ways you can make this more streamlined.
DIY it by creating a template in a Google Doc 1 time, and then copy/pasting it to wherever you post your event signups. Or use your free POINT account to save your event template in there to copy and post, or just click to set it as recurring with a Pro account. Eaaaaasy.
We hope these volunteer management tips have been helpful to you so far!
If you are looking for an incredible free volunteer management solution, check us out! We’ve got gamechanging features for nonprofits of all sizes.
P.S. Keep reading, this is not the end of our helpful tips!
Benefits of Effective Volunteer Management for Nonprofits
There are numerous benefits to effective volunteer management for nonprofits, including:
🌟 Increased volunteer productivity
Be sure to assign volunteers to tasks that are suited to their skills and interests. This leads to increased productivity, as volunteers are more likely to complete tasks quickly and efficiently when they are passionate about the work they are doing!
😄 Improved morale
If you manage your program well, so that volunteers feel valued and supported, they are more likely to remain engaged, committed, and motivated. And they’re more likely to enjoy their work and feel proud of their contributions!
Plus, this builds a positive reputation for the organization, as volunteers are more likely to speak positively about their experiences and recommend the organization to others. And we knooow you want that!
🙌 Higher volunteer retention rates
Effective volunteer management can increase volunteer retention, as volunteers are more likely to remain engaged and committed when they feel supported and appreciated. We all know that it can be tough to recruit fresh faces, so keeping the volunteers you have engaged with your organization is essential!
Best Practices for Volunteer Management in Nonprofits
📑 Develop a volunteer policy
A volunteer policy is a written document that outlines the organization’s expectations and responsibilities for volunteers. It should include details on recruitment, training, supervision, and recognition. The policy should be reviewed regularly and updated as needed.
🙋 Recruit the right volunteers
The success of volunteer management depends on recruiting the right volunteers. It’s important to identify the skills and interests of potential volunteers and match them with roles that are suited to their abilities.
Organizations should also be clear about the expectations and responsibilities of each role to ensure that volunteers are aware of what they are signing up for.
👍 Train your volunteers!
Training is a key component, as it ensures that volunteers are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to complete their tasks effectively. Organizations should provide regular training sessions and make sure that volunteers have access to resources and support when they need it.
Here’s the catch 😬🚩 Excessive training only makes volunteers feel like they’re jumping through hoops. If a specific volunteer role or event is pretty simple, do your training day-of for the first few minutes after volunteers arrive. Only require additional training if your opportunity requires special skills or knowledge.
🥳 Offer volunteer recognition and rewards
Recognition and rewards can include verbal recognition, written certificates, and small gifts. Organizations should also consider offering opportunities for volunteers to attend events, such as workshops or community gatherings, to increase their sense of community and connection to the organization.
💬 Maintain 2-way communication channels with volunteers
This is crucial in volunteer management! General volunteer communication should include regular updates on the organization’s activities and progress, and any new ways to get involved.
Schedule one-on-one meetings with regular volunteers to communicate open and honest feedback on their performance. But don’t let this be a one-way convo! Also open up space in your meeting for the volunteer to share feedback about their experience, and any skills they want to develop or areas they’d like to be more involved. This helps volunteering be productive for all parties.
🔀 Evaluate, iterate and improve
Okay, this may be the last segment in our article but it is one of the most important! Organizations should regularly assess the effectiveness of their volunteer management practices and make improvements as needed. This can include gathering feedback from volunteers and using data to track volunteer engagement and productivity.
Choose a volunteer management software that makes your job easier. POINT was literally built to support nonprofit heroes 🦸
We want to see nonprofits do more good and amplify their impact. Our communities need you, and you need tools that help you help them. That’s why POINT has so many volunteer management features that cover everything you need to save time and boost your peoplepower.
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