Recruiting and managing volunteers effectively is similar to doing the same for employees. Things to consider include:
- Organizational support, training, and preparation to involve volunteers
- Developing and marketing volunteer opportunities
- Screening and matching volunteers for your nonprofit’s needs
- Risk management and legal issues
- Evaluation, record-keeping, and accountability
- Recognition, retention, and motivation
- Volunteer activism and advocacy
While this seems like much effort, nonprofits benefit from volunteers because they, according to ServiceLeader.org:
- Help your organization meet its mission and better serve the community
- Demonstrate community investment and endorsement
- Help you reach new audiences and donors
- Often become individual donors, or even staff
- Can do things staff cannot do regarding public policy, like endorse your organization to public officials, in editorial pages, as well as comment publicly on legislation or political candidates (as long as they act as individuals, not representatives of your nonprofit)
- May be preferred over staff by certain population groups you might serve
Podcast Aaron Hurst of the Taproot Foundation shares advice for making the most of the current volunteer workforce. Watch now »
As nonprofit organizations strive to provide services on smaller budgets in the current economy, volunteers have become even more vital to their ability to meet their missions. The Corporation for National and Community Service reports:
While charitable giving declined in current dollars between 2007 and 2008 for the first time in over 20 years, in contrast the volunteer rate in the United States increased from 26.2 percent to 26.4 percent...
Almost no nonprofit organizations are showing a decrease in their volunteer usage...Many report that they have not only increased their reliance on volunteers of late, but also project that they will continue to increase their reliance on volunteers over the coming year.
See also our related Knowledge Base articles:
Selected resources below may also help.
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