How to Manage Volunteers in a Nonprofit

How to Manage Volunteers in a Nonprofit

Volunteers are the driving force behind a nonprofit organisation’s success and growth. Similar to skill donors, sponsors and contributors, they’re an essential element that contributes toward achieving a nonprofit organisation’s set goals and objectives. 

What Is Volunteer Management?

Volunteer management refers to the recruiting, training, engaging and retaining of individuals who ‘want to give back’ and work towards the betterment of communities.

Why Is Volunteer Management Important? 

  • It helps find donors for nonprofit
  • It attracts passionate individuals who are looking to find non profit jobs 
  • Gives volunteers a healthy work culture 
  • Reduces volunteer turnover rate
  • Makes way for efficient training of volunteers
  • Helps with finding and assigning skilled volunteers to the right roles 

Volunteer management helps to build a positive work experience for the volunteers, which then benefits the overall operations of a nonprofit organisation.

How to Manage Volunteers in a Nonprofit

Recruit the Right People

While this may seem like an obvious step, many nonprofit organisations overlook the fact that hiring the right people is the key to success. Before starting your recruitment process, it’s  important to do a needs analysis and figure out:

  • how many volunteers are needed
  • the roles that need to be filled
  • the number of teams required
  • skills and qualifications required

This will help to make sure that you are hiring the correct people for the right role.

Use Different Channels for Recruitment 

In order to recruit a diverse set of skilled individuals, use different mediums such as e-mail, website, and social media platforms. Reaching out to other nonprofits is also a great way to spread the word about ‌job vacancies and remote volunteer opportunities.

Create Clear Job Descriptions

Volunteers will perform more efficiently if provided with clear instructions on their roles and duties. Proactive communication, along with adequate guidelines that state the objectives, goals and time commitments needed, will help your volunteers achieve their tasks productively. 

Have an Orientation 

A fun and insightful orientation will help to manage your volunteers effectively. An orientation can provide volunteers with the information necessary to perform their duties while letting them interact with other volunteers to form a healthy work culture. Use your orientation to educate your volunteers about the organisation’s vision, mission, code of conduct and values. 

Be Motivational 

Motivation works wonders! It’ll do a world of good to keep your volunteers motivated at all times by showing your appreciation with words of encouragement and recognition. This helps them feel positive and thankful to engage in a truly rewarding cause that improves the lives of communities.  

Listen to Volunteer Insights and Input

Volunteer feedback and insights are of utmost value to a nonprofit organisation, helping to improve ongoing operations, implement new programs and create more efficient workflows. Be sure to listen to your volunteers by conducting regular surveys to discuss how to better their experience. In the long run, constant feedback and improvements help to manage and retain volunteers. 

Show Your Appreciation 

Volunteers engaging in selfless work can be shown appreciation through efforts such as Volunteer gatherings, awards nights, thank you events, letters of recommendation, offering networking opportunities, establishing open-door policies and sharing testimonials from beneficiaries.