3 Benefits of Having a Volunteer Management Solution Amid COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the way organizations recruit, engage and manage volunteer constituents. Nonprofits all over the world are looking for new and creative ways to engage volunteers, provide them with a safe working environment and drive the most possible value from their programs. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing nonprofits to shift their volunteer program strategy and look for intuitive ways to provide much-needed support to the community.
Studies have shown that the need for nonprofits and volunteers has been, and will continue to be, elevated due to COVID-19. Tim Delaney, president and chief executive of the National Council of Nonprofits, recently stated that “people who use to donate to nonprofits are now standing in line to receive services, which tells you that while demand is soaring, the resources are plummeting.”
Because of budget cuts, furloughs and health-related restrictions, it is key that nonprofits leverage tools to help their organization adapt to this new environment and drive as much value from internal and external resources as possible. One tool that nonprofits are finding to be increasingly valuable, amid COVID-19, is a volunteer management solution.
When used correctly, the right volunteer management solution can help an organization position its program, strategically, and adapt to change. Here are three ways it can be leveraged during and after the pandemic.
Creating a Contactless Experience
One of the top benefits of a volunteer management solution, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is the ability to create a contactless experience for volunteers. Many organizations are using volunteer management solutions to allow supporters to sign up for opportunities from home, promote virtual roles and implement a contactless check-in process during in-person events. Some volunteer management tools even allow volunteers to self-report hours and submit them to an organization for approval, further limiting contact.
Using a volunteer management solution to create a contactless recruitment, registration, check-in and reporting experience for volunteers is a great way for an organization to adhere to CDC/state-issued guidelines and create a safer giving experience overall.
Converting Volunteers to Financial Donors
One misconception about donor behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic is that giving has slowed down. Studies have shown the opposite is true. In fact, according to a study performed by Fidelity Charitable, 54% of donors plan to maintain their post-COVID-19 contribution level and 25% plan to increase contributions. Because of the strong correlation between volunteers and donors and cross-pollination potential, nonprofits should be focused on converting volunteers to donors as a strategic response to the pandemic. Creating new fundraising avenues will help charitable organizations remain sustainable.
The value of an organization’s volunteer database as a fundraising avenue is immense. A donor engagement report, sponsored by Fidelity Charitable, found that donors, who also volunteer, give an average of 10 times more financially than those who only give monetarily.
Implementing a volunteer management solution can help an organization covert more volunteers to donors by integrating with industry-leading donor management systems, such as Blackbaud and Salesforce. These integrations can provide a nonprofit with valuable insights that can be used to cross-pollinate supporter groups and create a holistic approach to reporting.
The old saying “communication is key” certainly applies to managing a successful volunteer program. Nurturing volunteer relationships requires planned, coordinated and strategic communications across platforms that are used most frequently by volunteer constituents. A recent study by Buffer, a leading social media scheduling tool, found that 88% of nonprofits declared email and websites as their most important communication tool. A volunteer management solution can provide an organization with optimizations to both communication channels to yield even greater results.
Volunteer management solutions allow users to communicate with volunteers via their website, email, text and social media. Communications can be customized, branded and sent to individuals or to volunteer groups, saving an organization both time and resources.
Many organizations claim that they have saved hundreds of hours in communication time by switching from a manual volunteer management process to a streamlined software solution.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that volunteer programs operate. The truth is, we do not know how long this new normal will last and the impact it will have on organizations long term. That said, it is critical for nonprofits to look for new innovative ways to recruit, engage and manage volunteer constituents. Investing and implementing a volunteer management solution can help an organization create a strategic and contactless approach to COVID-19, convert volunteers to donors and communicate more effectively.
Eric Burger is the marketing communications manager for VolunteerHub, an organization that provides volunteer management solutions for nonprofits across the globe. Eric has worked in the B2B software industry for the past two years and has over five years of experience in digital marketing.