Volunteer Management Tips for 2020
The beginning of a new year can be a stressful time for a nonprofit. Your organization is probably focused on reviewing last year’s program results, forecasting mission attainment, creating fundraising strategies and developing a plan for how to use resources. It is easy to overlook your organization’s volunteer program when planning and forecasting to reach new year goals.
The truth is, your nonprofits volunteer program can make or break your organization’s ability to succeed, and volunteer management is a crucial component of your success.
Just think about how your organization uses volunteers and how important they are for reaching goals. Has your organization reviewed your volunteer management strategy and the tools needed for efficiency in 2020? Here are a few tips to consider when reviewing your volunteer management strategy for the new year.
Volunteer Management Focused on Engagement
Studies have shown that 45% of the workforce is not engaged and another 26% are actively disengaged. This means that, on average, only 29% of the workforce in the U.S. is engaged in their work. It is important for your nonprofit to consider volunteerism as an extension of your organization’s workforce. Too many nonprofits create a disconnect between their employees and the volunteers that provide them with their time in exchange for value.
Volunteers, like employees, need to be actively engaged in order to provide the most value and continue to commit to future opportunities. There are many ways to engage volunteers. One of the easiest and most effective ways is through communication and recognition.
Even though active communication and recognition require tools to increase efficiency, it does not need to consume all of your volunteer coordinator’s time. Investing in and deploying the right volunteer management software can help your nonprofit easily organize communications, segment messaging and create a personalized call-to-action that drives high levels of engagement from your volunteer pool.
In my experience, many organizations have freed up hundreds of hours per year transitioning from a manual process of volunteer management to an automated solution. This increase in expendable hours can make engagement with volunteers and prospects attainable.
With new avenues for communication and the support of volunteer management software, providing volunteers with rewards and recognition can be realized in 2020. Recognition can increase productivity, reduce volunteer turnover and emphasize the value your organization has for support.
Your organization’s volunteer management strategy should emphasize the importance of recognition and allocate resources to put a recognition program into place (if you don’t have one).
Optimized Application Process
Technology has advanced a lot over the last few years and will continue to develop over the course of 2020. Volunteers expect an easy, streamlined and convenient experience when applying to provide an organization with their time. Is your volunteer application, and how it is completed, a barrier for recruitment? The importance of recruiting quality volunteers cannot be overstated.
Allowing volunteers and prospects to complete your volunteer application and find new opportunities to serve online is an easy way to impact recruitment, retention and engagement (see a trend?). Deploying a volunteer management solution that takes your application process online also makes tracking, measuring and recording results easier than ever.
Finally, optimizing your application process for online applications makes communication clearer. Your organization can quickly, efficiently and effectively communicate who the ideal candidate is for each role (minimizing risk).
Use of Gamification
Gamification is quickly becoming a go-to strategy for engaging volunteers through friendly competition. If you are not familiar with gamification and how it relates to your nonprofit, it is the process of incorporating game elements into your volunteer program. Gamification will continue to become an important differentiator for nonprofits and their volunteer programs moving through 2020.
If your nonprofit is not using gamification as a way to engage volunteers, it may be time to consider it. Many nonprofits, just like yours, have seen success by deploying a point system into their volunteer opportunities. In other words, each volunteer opportunity is worth points, and these points can be traded for rewards and prizes.
Believe it or not, I recently spoke to a VolunteerHub client who is saving $649,656 (per year) through a strategic gamification strategy. Talk about ROI!
Your organization’s volunteer program is, and will continue to be, one of the most important components of your nonprofit’s ability to succeed. Investing in your volunteer management strategy and process is a great way to bring your program into the present and position it for the future.
If your organization wants to be successful, it is key that your volunteer management strategy focuses on engagement, communication, ease of access and gamification in 2020.
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.