Summer is here! Like many other nonprofit organizations, you’re probably preparing for more in-person volunteering opportunities like summer camp, Vacation Bible School, and more. With the weather warming up, and more free time available, volunteers are eager to serve, too!
Are you fully prepared for this upcoming volunteer season? We compiled the best practices, tips, and resources to create a volunteer management checklist for you to better prepare for this summer.
Volunteer engagement has dropped since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic despite rising demand for nonprofit services. In fact, 66% of volunteers have decreased the amount of time they volunteer or stopped entirely due to the pandemic. In order to both attract and retain your volunteer community, it’s important to continue to emphasize your engagement and recruitment efforts.
A good way to reinforce volunteer engagement and recruitment is by aligning with and providing value to your community. People volunteer for countless different reasons, so honing in on your volunteers' needs can help you find ways to connect with the volunteer community. Take time to consider the best way to connect with your community. Some ideas include:
Recruiting volunteers is just one piece of the puzzle. Retaining your volunteers is just as, if not more, important. Just as people leave their jobs for a myriad of reasons, volunteers have different motivations for leaving organizations. Some things that lead volunteers to stay include enjoyment, a sense of contribution, belonging to a community, and pride in the cause. In contrast, volunteers leave their current opportunity because of unmet expectations, time constraints, and a lack of flexibility.
Is your organization meeting your volunteers' needs? Optimizing your volunteer opportunities to provide value to your volunteers can help you engage more people in the community. Here are some ways to enhance your volunteer program this summer:
Consider giving volunteers opportunities to advance within your organization. This can help volunteers feel more valuable and impactful to the organization while also strengthening retainment.
Volunteerism can provide people with career development skills and opportunities they need to excel in a busy job market. Teaching adaptable skills such as leadership, time management, collaboration, and communication will not only challenge your volunteers but keep them coming back to learn (and give!) more.
25% of Gen Z claim they are actively volunteering, which is a large pool of people to connect with! More than other demographics, younger volunteers seek growth and advancement opportunities while contributing to a cause they care about. Tapping into this pool of individuals can help you engage with more volunteers this summer.
Effective organization, onboarding processes, and communication are the best ways to build trust with your volunteers. It’s critical to thoroughly examine each of these processes to ensure they align with both your organization’s mission and your volunteers’ needs. Two areas to focus on streamlining efficiency are volunteer onboarding and communication.
The keys to a successful volunteer onboarding experience are organization and transparency. Define and create standard operating procedures for every step of your onboarding process so that volunteers have a clear understanding of what to expect. You can also partner new volunteers with experienced members of your nonprofit to help ease their transition. Be transparent with your volunteers, too. This includes everything from the onboarding process to volunteer expectations.
Properly communicating with your volunteers can build trust, strengthen relationships, and help you retain more volunteers. Remain consistent with your communication from onboarding to program updates and everything in between. Just as important as communicating policies and expectations is sharing program impact data. Volunteers want to know their contributions, and sharing this information frequently will make volunteers feel important to the organization. Consider using a volunteer management software or solution for effective and efficient communication.
As you ramp up volunteer efforts for the summer, you need to ensure you have the right tools and technologies in place to support your needs. Not only will these tools help you stay organized, but they will also allow you to spend more time focusing on other high-impact activities. With so many different options in the marketplace, knowing which investments are the right fit for your organization can be complicated.
Volunteer Management tools should be multi-functional, customizable to your needs, and user-friendly. As a nonprofit organization working with (often) a small budget or limited resources, every technology investment you make should be maximized to its fullest potential. Your selected tools should help you manage, recruit, and engage volunteers more efficiently while also providing robust reporting and communication features.
Onboarding and managing new volunteers and new staff is a lot of work without the right tools and processes in place. To take some of the work off your plate, we recommend partnering with a background screening provider that integrates with your chosen volunteer management system.
A background screening provider like Verified First will come alongside your organization to help facilitate your screening needs, help you stay compliant, and better manage your recruitment and onboarding efforts.
Preparing your volunteer programs for the summer can seem daunting at first. But when you take the time to connect with your community and align your processes and opportunities with your volunteer needs, you can recruit and retain a stronger volunteer community.
Partnering with the right volunteer management and background screening providers is essential to efficiently onboarding and maintaining your volunteers. Verified First integrates directly into 100+ people management and volunteer platforms with our patented VF Connector. You can order and manage screens straight from your volunteer management platform, so you can focus on what matters: your mission.