Sector Share: Resources for Recruiting, Retaining and Supporting Volunteers

From finding to managing to thanking volunteers there’s much to get right!  CNL has compiled some key resources from trusted nonprofit expert sources.  We hope you find effective strategies and ideas for addressing challenges wherever your organization is in the quest for the all-important volunteer and volunteer program.

Whether you are starting from the beginning or looking to confirm you and your organization’s volunteer program is on the right track, these 3 resources/articles will provide content and tools to help:

National Council of Nonprofits – All About Volunteers

Points of Light – Starting a Volunteer Program

Free Management Library – Developing and Managing Volunteer Programs

Recruiting Resources
Recruiting volunteers means asking people to work in your organization without pay. You can recruit them formally (asking them to fill out application forms, offering them a job title, etc.) or informally (by asking your sister to help build an agency float, for instance), or anything in between.  Best Practice dictates that a more formal process will get you better results for your efforts.  These articles touch on the many facets of finding the right people

Community Tool Box – Recruiting Volunteers

A Volunteer Communications Strategy: 13 Steps to Driving Recruitment, Engagement and Leadership (Case Study)

Bringing on Highly Skilled Volunteers
There are likely skilled professionals – specialists in accounting, information technology, human resources and more – in our community ready to volunteer at your nonprofit, but are you ready to receive them? The Skills-Based Service Engagement Tool, which takes about 10 minutes to use, can help your nonprofit determine how prepared it is to engage skills-based volunteers.

Another good tool is the website – there are resources to help your organization determine if skilled volunteer recruitment is right for you and how to engage.

Managing Resources
For many nonprofit organizations, volunteer help is vital. However, engaging volunteers in an organized way can be tough.

This Hands On Volunteer Management Guidebook can help.

The guide outlines various strategies for organizing a strong volunteer structure, from recruiting and scheduling volunteers to retaining and recognizing their efforts. Paired with questions to consider and activities to help map out goals, the Volunteer Management Guidebook provides resources you can adapt to meet your local program needs.

A solid corps of volunteer leaders can make a big difference in helping your nonprofit achieve its mission. Here are 2 resources that can assist in that process: Points of Light’s Volunteers as Leaders guidebook is designed to help your organization establish the processes needed to develop a strong volunteer leader program.

Once your organization has a program in place, feedback from volunteers can be key to growth and success. The Organizational Assessment for Volunteer Leaders, created by Points of Light, provides a thorough questionnaire to help extract important responses about how your project is running, from a volunteer perspective.

Gratitude & Recognition
An Attitude of Gratitude, as the saying goes, is crucial to retaining those committed folks you worked so hard to find and train.  Check out this Volunteer Appreciation Guide from Wild Apricot.

Some Helpful Blogs

  • The HandsOn Network blog posts fun volunteer tips and tricks to get engaged in all kinds of volunteer projects.
  • The generationOn blog features great youth volunteer stories and ways to involve families in volunteering.

And lastly, there are many ways to recognize the value of volunteer work. We all know in our hearts, the value of those that give of their time and talents and what that can mean to our organizations.  But for nonprofits, we often need to calculate the monetary worth of volunteer duties, which varies. The below tools can assist when needed.

Independent Sectors’ Value of Volunteer Time post – this adjusts annually so make sure to check back.

Points of Light – Volunteer Economic Impact Calculator