Sat, Apr 22, 2023 at 6:55AM

Are Volunteers Your Nonprofit's Secret Sauce?

Volunteers can be the secret sauce for creating success or they can be a real pain to deal with.

Many organizations successfully benefit from the valuable assistance of volunteers who give their time for supporting events and activities. Many volunteers are engaged with day-to-day roles within an organization.

For many organizations though, the idea for utilizing volunteers sounds good initially but when put into practice the good idea doesn’t work out so well.

You can avoid many of the challenges associated with volunteers by developing a good plan for your volunteer program.

Take advantage of this checklist of questions to create a volunteer planning template.

Answer these questions to develop your volunteer program plan.

  • What is the purpose of your volunteer program? Include specific goals.
  • What is need for volunteers? (A single event or ongoing?)
  • What are anticipated (measurable) results?
  • What are specific tasks for volunteers?
  • How many volunteers are needed?
  • What is staff role?
  • How will you achieve staff support?
  • What is budget for this program?
  • What are key dates for program implementation?
  • How will volunteers be supervised?
  • How will volunteers be recruited?
  • What skills and experience are needed?
  • How will volunteer prospects be evaluated?
  • What training will be required? (For both staff and volunteers?)
  • What is communication plan?
  • What is current volunteer retention rate?
  • How can retention rate be improved?
  • How will volunteers be recognized?
  • How will program evaluation be done?
  • What are mistakes to avoid?
  • What other planning steps should be considered?
  • How can planning process be used to build engagement of program stakeholders?

What are your suggestions for successfully working with volunteers?

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User Comments

This is a topic near and dear to me! Our agency has been using volunteers for decades; some of them have over thirty years with us! Our retention rate has been consistently high over the years, so we must be doing something right. But changing institutional needs, tech advances in our operations, the disruption caused by the Pandemic, and natural attrition have cause our volunteer staff to shrink from over 100 in 2014, mostly retirees, to around 50 today. The need for volunteers has also diminished, however, and the volunteer profile has evolved towards a more tech-savvy type. We may need to shift our recruitment strategies. Watershed moment? That?s a great list of questions. I think our suggestions for success would be: ? Personal relationships: build close relationships between individual volunteers and staff ? Make things fun: group activities, potlucks, and a gala annual luncheon have worked for us If you plan a workshop, please let us know!
Author: / Thu, Apr 27, 2023 at 9:55AM
Thank You Kathy
Thank You Kathy for adding to the conversation by sharing your experience!
Author: / Fri, Apr 28, 2023 at 8:20AM
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