Success with volunteers

Success with volunteers

At a time when many not-for-profits fear cuts in government grants and donations, expanding the use of volunteers may help them remain successful. Here are ways to maximize volunteers’ effectiveness: 

Follow policies and procedures used for employees. This includes policies for background checks, onboarding, training, and liability and casualty insurance.

Assess volunteers’ talents and capabilities. This will help the organization put them in the correct roles. Feel comfortable not accepting volunteers if they’re not the right fit.

Make sure they understand the mission. Every volunteer should not only be clear abut your mission, but passionate as well.

Make administrative work as simple as possible. Few volunteers are eager to spend their time performing administrative duties. They would rather work toward fulfilling the mission. Well-designed templates, documents, and online portals can help reduce the time volunteers spend on administration, including onboarding.

Make mentoring available. A “buddy” program matching a volunteer with an employee can be a great way to help volunteers become familiar with the not-for-profit. Consider linking your volunteers to a staff person for mentoring.

Enable flexibility. Volunteers are eager to help, but often they want to do it on their own time. Offering flexible scheduling will enable a not-for-profit to more easily use volunteers’ services.

Get feedback. Surveying volunteers on their experience with the organization is just as important as surveying employees. When a not-for-profit gets feedback, it’s important to listen and address any problems that are identified.

Keep the best volunteers for years. They are a great resource for volunteer referrals, maybe even their friends and family members will join the organization and share the mission.

For more not-for-profit business success tips, contact our team.

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