Volunteers are the unsung heroes of a charity. They do selfless work, effectively managing the smooth functioning of the nonprofit. They play a huge role in strengthening communities and spreading the word about the causes and the mission of the charity. Volunteer fundraising helps nonprofits to attract donors and raise money. Yet, they are neglected when compared to donors who chip in with financial help.
There are over one billion volunteers worldwide and one in four Americans volunteer for various causes. They are crucial for nonprofits, many of which would not survive without the volunteers’ selfless dedication and work. So, undoubtedly, managing volunteers is crucial for any nonprofit’s success. Let’s see some details about volunteer management and share with you some tips for managing volunteers.
Volunteer management in a nonprofit is the process of attracting, recruiting, engaging, tracking, assigning tasks, and retaining volunteers. It is a comprehensive task of managing volunteers in a nonprofit and assigning them tasks to help reach charity goals. Through effective volunteer management, you can cultivate a long-term mutually beneficial supporter relationship.
Though volunteers may not contribute financially to your nonprofit, they play a major support role to increase your charity’s impact. Just like how donors show their love through donations, volunteers show their love through their work. It is an emotional decision for them as they want to do something meaningful for society. As a charity, it is your duty to make them feel appreciated.
The role of volunteers in nonprofit organizations may be expansive and diverse.
Event volunteering- These volunteers join you temporarily when there’s a fundraising event like a cleanup drive, annual event, or community service.
Skill-based volunteering- You get the help of these volunteers as and when a specific need arises. For example, you may seek the advice of an attorney volunteer for legal purposes or a civil engineer for building an orphanage.
Long-term volunteering- This is when your charity supporters report to volunteering frequently and for the long term. For instance, they may take weekly classes for orphan kids, or help in gardening whenever they are free, and so on. The volunteers may not do skill-specific tasks, but they are committed and help in whatever ways they can.
Administrative volunteering- Data entry, reception, accounting, and micro-management are the tasks taken up by administrative volunteers in a nonprofit. They are present in the charity office more frequently, but they may not be long-term volunteers.
Advocacy volunteering- These volunteers help the charity raise money by advocating out on the street raising awareness and money for your cause. They also actively campaign for your charity by sharing the donation page link set up on the online fundraising platform on their social media accounts.
Approximately, 36% of the volunteering time is spent on fundraising. The rest is spent on collecting, prepping, or distributing food. About 13% of the volunteers work for health and wellness. 12% support religion-based charities while 10% support wildlife and animal charity work. Without the support of volunteers, charities will find it challenging to get funds for various causes or fulfill their goals. Let’s see how charities can work towards managing their volunteers to build a long-lasting relationship with them.
Your volunteer recruitment process is not something that you should think of only when you need it. It must be a continual process. Get all the interested people to sign up as volunteers so that you can recruit them when the need arises. For instance, you set up a donation page on an online fundraising platform to raise funds for a cause. In addition to a CTA button seeking donations, also add a CTA for volunteers to sign up. Take them to a registration page, get them to fill in their details, and send them a thank-you email for coming forward as a volunteer. Store their details in a database tool and use them when the need arises such as in fundraising events, volunteering activities for disaster management, and others.
Volunteers join you for free. But it doesn’t mean you assign them tasks of your own free will. A volunteer may be experienced in managing events, another may be good in customer relations, and the next may be an accounting expert. Delegate tasks to them based on their skillsets. And it’s always advisable to use their skills for tasks that aren’t permanent. For instance, if your charity needs a full-time account manager, hire a professional paid staff instead of relying on volunteers for the task. You cannot force your supporters to work for you all the time.
When you recruit volunteers for a task, proper onboarding is necessary as they are new to the job, and they know nothing of your charity’s mission. The first task is to educate them about the cause for which they are recruited and tell them about your mission. Hold role-specific training sessions with other experienced volunteers and provide them with a timetable on what tasks they are expected to do and how. Make groups and assign a leader to each group so that volunteer management becomes easy.
Many of the volunteers recruited for your charity are people with selfless hearts. They find a sense of purpose by serving others and doing noble causes. They like observing how their efforts have a favorable effect. Charities need to show their appreciation and make sure they are getting everything they need from the organization. You can appreciate them in several ways such as-
Appreciating their work and being open about their result of work fosters lasting relationships between the charity and the volunteers.
Like most relationships, clear communication is important in managing and retaining volunteers. Frequently talking to them and conveying the scope of their work will help them understand their tasks and the importance of their work. You can form teams and assign leaders for each team so that there is clear coordination of tasks. You can also invest in a good volunteer management tool to manage them easily and fast. Form chat groups so that they can access all information in one place without having to speak to multiple sources to know their task.
Research and invest in good third-party volunteer management software as it makes your job easy. The software helps you perform multiple jobs such as-
Dedicated software will help you manage the volunteer process from end to end.
Your volunteers become your brand advocates and lifelong ambassadors if you nurture and foster your relationship with them. They are the image and reputation of your organization. If you care for them, appreciate them, and value their selfless work, you have the benefit of getting multiple returns as they act as brand advocates, public relationship managers, and marketers for your nonprofit.
Your volunteers are necessary for the survival of your charity and its cause. They may not donate money, but they donate their valuable time and make sure that you are able to raise money through their volunteer fundraising. So, ensure you treat them appropriately and make them feel comfortable and welcome.
GivingX, a trusted online fundraising platform, offers peer-to-peer fundraising to help you raise money for causes by involving your volunteers and supporters. Visit our platform and start a peer-to-peer fundraiser today.