Volunteer program staffing is all about creating engagement and leveraging skill-sets. Is your nonprofit placing the right supporter in the right role?
Over 64 million Americans volunteer at charities each year. That number may appear to be staggering (and it is!) but nonprofit organizations all over the world still need supporters to help them fulfill their mission of good. These supporters may come in the form of general and skill-based volunteers.
Many nonprofits find the process of recruiting new volunteers and sustaining existing relationships to be a difficult feat.
The challenge becomes even more complex when organizations want to recruit the right volunteer to fill the right role in a short amount of time. For most nonprofits, opportunities need to be filled quickly and efficiently in order to meet the demand of its program and goals. One crucial step, that is often forgotten, is measuring volunteer impact as a means of providing direction for staffing.
Measuring the positive impact that volunteers make on a nonprofits ability to fulfill its goals has become more important than ever. In fact, 19% of nonprofits increased recruitment and retention efforts as a bi-product of measuring volunteer impact effectively. Measuring impact and how an organization wants to utilize volunteers to reach its mission should live at the foundation of a nonprofits volunteer program staffing initiatives.
In this post, we will provide a few of the top staffing challenges for nonprofits, strategies for finding and retaining volunteers, and insights on how technology can impact a nonprofits ability to overcome obstacles.
Before we get into strategies for staffing a volunteer program lets look at a few of the most common recruitment obstacles nonprofits face today.
Top Volunteer Staffing Challenges for Nonprofits
Retaining volunteers and driving them to fulfill new opportunities.
Communicating opportunities effectively with volunteers.
Deploying high-levels of engagement with volunteers.
Creating recruitment strategies for tech-savvy supporters.
Developing initiatives that retain.
Effective Strategies for Staffing a Volunteer Program
Nonprofits that offer prospects a streamlined process for recruitment and registration are more likely to fill opportunities quickly and efficiently. In today’s tech-savvy world many prospects want to be able to find roles and complete the sign-up process online. In many cases, the longer the registration process takes the greater the risk of abandonment. An online volunteer registration process in conjunction with volunteer management software also provides several benefits to a nonprofit organization including detailed reporting, centralized data management, and the reduction of management time.
Finally, creating streamlined processes demonstrates to supporters that a nonprofit is serious about their program and the components that make it successful (including volunteers themselves!).
Effective recruitment and retention is all about providing volunteers and prospects with specifics. Role descriptions need to provide supporters with an in-depth vision of what to expect from an opportunity. Organizations should also provide details regarding qualifications, training, benefits, next steps, and reinforce mission and goals.
Nonprofits that “ask” supporters to fill future opportunities are also more likely to retain and engage them. Over 41% of volunteers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, volunteered because they were specifically asked to do so. Organizations should not be afraid to leverage their existing volunteer database and provide contacts with the specifics regarding roles they are wanting to fill now or in the future.
The old saying “if you build it, they will come” does not apply in the nonprofit world. Finding qualified volunteers to fill roles requires creating a network of prospects and supporters. Nonprofits can create a diverse network by allocating resources where their target market spends time. This could mean focusing time of building a presence on social networks, professional forums, or potentially creating flyers for local businesses (or a combination of all). Organizations that focus their efforts on developing new talent pools and leveraging existing ones are often able to fill opportunities quickly.
Providing volunteers with rewards and recognition is another strategic way for nonprofits to increase recruitment and retention rates. Volunteers provide their time for greater good but incentives can help boost commitment levels.
Nonprofits can also increase commitment by offering volunteers opportunity. Opportunity can be created by offering volunteers professional development, networking, and additional responsibility to increase skills.
Regardless of what strategies are used for volunteer program staffing, it is crucial for an organization to remember that their volunteer program is people driven. The direction that recruitment and retention takes should be focused specifically on the supporters that make the mission attainable. Nonprofits can better understand their supporters, program likes and dislikes, and opportunities for volunteer program improvement by creating and deploying a volunteer satisfaction survey. The information gathered from a satisfaction survey is invaluable and can help an organization optimize their program in the future to reach short and long-term goals.
How Volunteer Management Software Can Help
The creation of process support
Volunteer management software offers nonprofits a comprehensive feature-set that can be used to enhance their volunteer program, communicate with supporters, and retain resources. Management tools, like VolunteerHub, provide nonprofits with the ability to create opportunity landing pages, offer online-signup, measure impact, and effectively communicate with volunteer contacts. Thousands of organizations are using VolunteerHub to improve their processes including Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity, Food Bank of the Southern Tier, and more.
Ease of Access
Cloud-based volunteer management software, like VolunteerHub, also makes it possible for nonprofits to access data from any place and at any time.