Once you find volunteers, make sure to treat them very good. Understand and know certain aspects of volunteer management and how to keep volunteers satisfied. Have a plan for what to do if you encounter an emergency.
Learn to manage volunteers efficiently and effectively. Volunteers are probably the most important part of a fundraiser. By making sure they’re taken care of, you will bring more success to the campaign or charity.
There are software programs to help you manage and keep volunteers organized as well. If you have a lot of volunteers, it can become confusing to remember who joined, who is doing what, and when tasks should be done. Confusion will create problems for volunteers, keep this to a minimum by having great organizational skills.
It helps to have someone or a few people in charge of managing everything that comes with volunteering. Split these tasks into recruitment, training and management once they’re within the organization.
Make sure the board members know that volunteers are to be seen as just that. Do not make the mistake of seeing them as employees. This will cause division and you could potentially lose volunteers.
When finding someone to coordinate volunteer management, be extremely careful in the interview process. Get someone who is caring, compassionate yet driven and dedicated to the cause. Volunteers should feel like they can come to the coordinator for any questions or concerns.
Tips for Managing Volunteers
The following tips are perfect for Volunteer Coordinators to use when dealing with volunteers. This list supplies ways to keep organized, arrange volunteer assignments and treat volunteers.
Always Have a Backup Plan
Have a backup plan in place just in case things don't go as planned. Assign work for volunteers to do with back up options in mind. It may be useful to keep a list of secondary volunteers or a way for volunteers to work together and get multiple jobs done.
You'll never know when someone could end up sick or simply bail on an event. You can’t plan everything but at least you will have a backup plan in place.
Check-in on Them
This applies to the day of the event as well as working in the office or headquarters. This is one of the most important aspects of volunteer management.
Checking in on them doesn’t always mean you’re making sure they’re actually working on the project. This can also mean you’re checking to see if they’ve encountered problems or have any questions. Ask them how things are going. Volunteers may have an idea they want to share with you. Allow the doors of communication to be wide open.
Be on the Lookout for Burnout
This happens to the best of us no matter what we’re working on. Make sure to look out for burnout within the volunteer community.
Some volunteers might not admit they’re overly tired and about to reach their breaking point. If you see someone who is struggling, give them a break. Take over a task for them so they can be rejuvenated. Another way to combat burnout is by setting time aside for everyone to come together and relax. Pick a day out the week for a night out with drinks or let them go home early from a day’s work.
Always show your appreciation for volunteers. Thank them every time they get done with a task or every time they come in to help with the fundraiser. This is key to volunteer management.
Remember this is not their job. You don’t pay them to work for you. They want to work for you out of the kindness of their heart. They’re there to make a difference and help along the way. There are so many ways to show appreciation. Simple thank-you cards and pizza will suffice. They need to know you appreciate their efforts.
Promote Confidence and Positive Feelings
Volunteers want to feel good about what they’re doing. This can be done by providing motivation when coming to and leaving fundraisers.
Always smile while being cheerful and polite. A smile goes a long way. Smiling is contagious. Everyone working on the campaign should be happy to be there especially the leaders of the campaign. Confidence in this line of work can come from knowing you’re doing something to help others. Remind volunteers of the mission and vision statements. Update them on what the campaign is accomplishing.
This will give them the necessary motivation to keep going. Sometimes they need to know that what they’re contributing is actually making a difference.
Know the Campaign’s Volunteers
This is an essential aspect of volunteer management. Know who your volunteers are. Speak with them, gain insight into their needs and goals. Inquire about their life outside the organization. This will build a trusting relationship between volunteers and the organization. Make time for volunteers to meet each other as well. At the beginning of a new project or campaign, let everyone become acquainted.
This also makes it easier to have an open dialogue. If everyone knows everyone, it will make the fundraiser or campaign run better as well. Everyone should work together towards the common goal of the fundraiser.
Software to Use While Managing Volunteers
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Software such as Init Live, Get Connected, Giveffect and Volunteer Local can help you manage the volunteers of the campaign. InitLive is a program designed to schedule/plan events and help track the progress of your fundraiser. The program includes features like hour tracking, scheduling, event data, organization management and support packages.
To find out more about this program go to the InitLive Non-Profit website. They also have helpful tips and tricks to keep the campaign under control.
Get Connected is another great program. With this software, fundraisers can clearly record volunteer engagement and will track the involvement of all volunteers in the campaign. This is a great way to keep up with everyone.
Like other software previously mentioned, this program provides schedules, hourly tracking, online applications and calendars to keep up with fundraising events. Volunteer Local packages their software based on how big the campaign is. This software gives users the option to schedule volunteers, recruit more volunteers and even collect data on the volunteers.
Efficient Volunteer Management
The main goal of effective volunteer management is to create an enjoyable experience for volunteers.
Clear program goals for the volunteers need to be set. What problems will this organization solve? All volunteers should know this information. Focus on retention, volunteer satisfaction, keeping error-free paperwork, underutilization of volunteers and focus on life-long support from volunteers.
This may seem like a stretch, but many volunteers become so passionate about a cause that they become lifetime volunteers. In some years, they may contribute more or less, but they'll stick with the campaign no matter what. Give satisfaction surveys to figure out what can change or become better about the volunteer program.
This is also a good time to potentially gain donors. Sure, you need volunteers to keep everything afloat, but after they’re done volunteering, find a way to keep them as a donor. Come up with some kind of creative volunteer recognition program whether it’s a dinner, party, or award which can be obtained. Award ceremonies for multiple volunteers are a great way to keep the motivation in the campaign.
You can even have a volunteer of the month program where they get their picture hung on the walls or become recognized in the newsletter as being the volunteer of the month. Always remember volunteers are just that, not employees. Treat volunteers good and they’ll treat the campaign better. Be fair, respectful and cheerful.
Volunteer management has to do with recruitment, retention, and managing the volunteers once they’re in the program. A happy volunteer makes for a successful campaign.
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