Volunteers are the lifeblood of any nonprofit. Your services, fundraising campaigns, and even day-to-day operations of your nonprofit can depend on volunteers.
And supporters are eager to help! According to an AmeriCorps published survey, “an estimated 30 percent of Americans or 77.9 million people reported they volunteered for an organization or association.”
So, if people want to volunteer, the key to garner willing volunteers is to:
While all nonprofits know they need volunteers, investing time and energy into building a program can naturally fall by the wayside. As you look to recruit and retain volunteers, a best practice is to put a strategic volunteer program in place.
You may be asking, “What’s the benefit to me, the nonprofit?” Let’s dive into it!
First, let’s start with the basics — what are the top reasons to invest in a volunteer program? We’ve got you covered. A dynamic volunteer program:
Are you convinced? If so, it’s time to take the next step of how to start putting a volunteer program into place. Then you can scale your volunteering as your nonprofit grows!
Here are our 5 fundraiser-approved steps to developing a bullet-proof volunteer program.
Gather data on number of volunteers, hours and skills contributed.
Measure the return on investment (ROI) including your program cost and total estimated volunteer value (# of volunteer hours x est. volunteer wage per hour). You can even take it a step further and consider the monetary savings to the community when volunteers provide the service or in-kind donation versus a private provider (e.g. number of children tutored or trees planted).
Share your ROI and other data with your executive team and board and garner to get them on board. Recruiting, onboarding, engaging, and retaining your volunteer base will be much smoother when you have their support.
Track volunteer hours, record your volunteers’ information, and create reports. Your software/tracking system should include a personalized volunteer dashboard where they can track their hours and volunteer services provided, demonstrating to them their impact in real-time.
Share the plan with your current volunteer leaders and solicit their feedback before rolling out to the community.
Give insight into how your efforts to recruit, engage, and retain volunteers positively impact your mission and your bottom line.
Bringing a proper volunteer program and management strategy into the picture can be a great step in helping your organization push your fundraising forward for the mission you serve daily.
For more information on volunteer management, be sure to check out these additional resources: