At the risk of preaching to the choir…volunteer programs are a great way for your organization to engage constituents and achieve your mission.
A recent study by The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) states that overall US volunteers served 8.1 billion hours in 2010, valued at an estimated $173 billion, with volunteers providing 52 hours of service per year. With the budget challenges you may face, can you imagine the impact to your organization if you had a volunteer force giving an hour a week of service for a full year! On top of the time dedicated to your organization, volunteers also donate 10 times more money to nonprofits than non-volunteers.
Not that you really needed extra convincing on the value of a volunteer program. What you might need though is tips and best practices for making that volunteer program simply fantastic.
Here’s three quick tips from our recent Volunteer Management Tipsheet.
- Make it easy – Time is often a person’s most valued commodity. While some volunteer opportunities require screening and training, identify low-barrier opportunities to engage first time volunteers. Consider episodic, micro-engagement and online opportunities to meet this need and whatever the area of interest, respond to an inquiry in a timely manner, within 24 hours if possible. For all volunteer opportunities, offer as much flexibility as possible.
- Ask for feedback – Concisely acquire feedback on three areas: the activity, the experience and future interests. Using this information you can not only further develop your overall volunteer program but help individuals find the best next opportunity for them. Bonus tip: track feedback on your volunteer’s constituent record to help shape future engagement.
- Say thanks – And then say it again and again. For above and beyond volunteerism, ask a leader in your organization, like a board member, to make a special thank you call. Recognition in the form of annual awards and listings in your annual report also make for a strong show of appreciation.
For more tips and ideas, check out the full tipsheet.