Not for Profits have a lot of moving parts behind the scenes in order to help them succeed. A Board of Directors, dedicated staff, a generous community, and most importantly – volunteers. It’s important for a Not for Profit to not only engage, but maintain, solid relationships with volunteers. Their contribution to the cause can be invaluable. Prospective volunteers have a lot of choices when it comes to donating their time – so how do you get your agency and cause to stand out?
First off, let it be known that you are looking for volunteers. Put it out there! Social media is great place to start, and you can also utilize your website, community listings, and more. You can also put your volunteer posting on resources like Volunteer Alberta, Propellus, Charity Village (linked at bottom).
Of course, there are volunteers that will choose your agency due to personal experience with your cause. If this is the case, it is important to understand why they have come to you, and ensure that the work will not trigger any old experiences for them. For this reason, and many others, it is important to interview and screen volunteers before they integrate within your agency. A detailed volunteer onboarding and application process, similar to how you hire employees, would ensure this.
When you have volunteers on board, it is important to ensure they stay engaged. Chat to them and see what they’re interested in, different things they could try, and ways they can grow their experience. A volunteer relationship should be mutually beneficial. Create a relationship with volunteers to ensure they will want to come back. You should treat them the same way as you would employees. Pay attention to the preferences of volunteers, and try to offer a variety of options for them.
Recognition of volunteers is crucial. It is true that volunteers are donating their time because they are passionate about your cause, but even a simple thank you goes a long way. Many agencies host events to say thank you to volunteers, or even just bringing in little treats along the way to show they are appreciated. Reports that show the reach and span of the work they are doing will also make them aware of their tangible contribution to the cause.
Here are some links to the sites mentioned in the article:
Volunteer Alberta: http://volunteeralberta.ab.ca/
Charity Village: https://charityvillage.com/app/nonprofit-jobs-in-calgary
We are here for you and want your Not-for-Profit to succeed. If you have any questions about the above article or want to know more about how we work with Not-for-Profits, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.