Have a Volunteer Engagement Strategy
Does your organization have a volunteer engagement strategy?
Engaging volunteers takes an investment of time and also yields incredible benefits.
It’s the time, treasure and talents:
- Research shows that people who volunteer donate five times more than those who do not volunteer. People give greater gifts to where they volunteer.
- Effective volunteer engagement can leverage significant amounts of time for an organization, reflecting a real gift in reduced staff costs
- Volunteers can leverage professional backgrounds and skills that you need.
Before looking to expand a volunteer program, be sure first that you are paying proper attention to your organization’s most vital volunteer group—its board. Review your board documents from bylaws to policies and procedures (such as for the recruitment of new board members) and be sure that they are up to date and effective. Make a gut-check of your human capital: Are you investing appropriate connectivity with the board, and are committees staffed, so the board members know the committee functions and can remain strategic? And, very important, does the CEO make face to face visits with each board member annually?
If you have affiliated boards and advisory groups (i.e. a foundation board, advisory board, alumni board), be sure that you can staff them. Affiliate groups without the proper leadership and direction can be a challenge.
Any group that is sanctioned by your organization should reflect your mission, values and culture. It should be implemented with excellence. For those in higher education, for example, alumni and similar affiliate groups can be a huge asset or a huge liability.
Groups that are structured to support your organization should have:
- A focused purpose
- Leadership that is cultivated, identified and oriented, much like your legal board (don’t leave leadership to chance)
- Clear expectations for leadership and volunteers
- Sufficient staff support to ensure success—including a rewarding experience for the volunteers
Maximize the incredible opportunities provided by volunteer engagement by providing rewarding and fun volunteer opportunities that further your mission!
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.