pexels-photo-1050297Nearly all volunteers serve because they feel passionate about a nonprofit’s mission. This heartfelt dedication to the cause can help them be more effective in their work as they deliver services to the community. The reputation that many nonprofits enjoy is widely influenced by the experiences of clients as they interact with volunteers.

A strong volunteer engagement program encourages your volunteers to take a more active role in the delegation and management of your organisation’s activities, while helping you to reduce costs, and protect your standing in the community. The following strategies can help you build a solid program that supports the rest of your team and advances your mission!

To Increase Your Pool, Increase the Number and Types of Volunteer Opportunities

Think about the different types of activities that volunteers could perform for your organisation. Try to create a variety of positions so that you can appeal to people with different skill sets and backgrounds. When creating volunteer positions, keep in mind that a growing number of folks are looking for volunteer opportunities that offer flexible hours, and short-term commitments.

When creating single day volunteer events, be on the lookout for ways to encourage these volunteers to remain connected with your organisation and its work. Letting volunteers “try out” your NFP could be just the encouragement that they need to volunteer for a longer span of time, or, to consider becoming donors and advocates for your cause.

Know What You are Looking for Before You Begin Your Search

While most nonprofits recognise the power that volunteers have to make a real difference in the lives of their clients, they often aren’t very clear on the skills and values that they would like their ideal volunteers to possess. While you want to recruit volunteers to perform specific tasks, it’s important to take both skills and values into consideration. Before you begin your search, create a profile of your ideal candidate for each specific volunteer position in your organisation. This simple step helps you screen through overly long applicant lists.

Create a Clear Description of the Position

Create a detailed, written description, that lists the tasks, duties and responsibilities to be performed for each volunteer position and provide it to potential candidates. Taking this step will help your volunteers to understand their role in your organisation and help you set clear expectations.

Take Advantage of Social Media to Get the Word Out

Once you know what you are looking for in a volunteer, and have decided on the number and types of volunteer opportunities to offer through your organisation, it is time to begin the actual recruiting process. For the best results, post your volunteer opportunities in multiple ways, such as your website, newsletter, and social media channels. Consider signing up with apps and online services that seek to match volunteers with opportunities to increase your success!

Get to Know Potential Candidates as People

When interviewing prospects, take the time to ask questions and make observations that will help you get to know each candidate as a person. What are their interests? What do they feel passionate about? How does working as a volunteer with your organisation align with their values and goals? The more that a prospect shares your NFPs values, the more likely they are to enjoy their work, and, the more likely they are to want to continue to support your nonprofit.

Invite Your New Recruits to Participate in the Process

When talking with prospects about a specific volunteer position, seek their input as to how they would like to perform the tasks and other work that will need to be accomplished to fulfil their role. Let them help you create a customised schedule that allows both of you work more effectively, and, that allows them to be able to meet their other commitments. Giving your volunteers a larger say in how and when they work will increase their sense of satisfaction and morale, and encourage them to be more active supporters of your cause!

Need More Engagement Tips? Attend this Free Webinar!

Want to learn more about how to get your volunteers more involved in your work? Register for this free seminar hosted by Volunteer Match! Walking the Walk: Engage Volunteers in Your Volunteer Engagement Program will be held from 4:00-5:00 a.m. on Friday, August 17th, in the Canberra, Australia time zone.