Nonprofits need to be willing to invest some time and oversight in their volunteer engagement efforts. Shaping great experiences for volunteers can incentivize them to excel in their roles and also continue their service for an extended period of time. Here are some tips that can help your organization optimize volunteer engagement.
Create Meaningful Opportunities
People who volunteer their time are looking for a chance to make a difference and also develop professional skills. In order for their time commitment to feel worthwhile, individuals need to do more than just basic administrative tasks and busy work. Giving volunteers challenging job duties makes their roles more engaging and important.
Make sure that you understand your current nonprofit insurance carrier’s coverages and exclusions involving volunteer activities, and consider getting a supplemental policy if it would help you utilize your volunteer workforce more actively in your day-to-day operations.
Use Volunteer Coordinators Effectively
Even when volunteers will be working directly with many different individual employees in an organization, it is a good practice for nonprofits to centralize responsibility for coordinating volunteer activities. Volunteers who work with multiple staff members or more than one department will appreciate having a point-person for coordinating their schedule or duties.
Appointing a volunteer program coordinator facilitates efficient onboarding and oversight of volunteers. Also, a coordinator can utilize information about past volunteer experiences to create strategic directives on how to retain volunteers going forward.
Say Thanks With Events
You cannot show your volunteers the value of their service with direct compensation, so it is important to express your gratitude in other ways. Make sure that you invite all of your volunteers to company events such as employee parties and fundraising functions. Also, consider holding events that are all about celebrating your volunteers’ efforts. It is a great way to show your volunteers how much their individual contributions mean to your team and your mission. Review current event coverages in your nonprofit insurance package and secure additional coverage for specific functions as necessary.
Your volunteers can give you insight about your program’s strengths and weaknesses. Make it a point to solicit input from volunteers about how their duties are going on a regular basis. Encourage them to speak openly and invite a dialog about ways to make different aspects of their experience better. Asking for feedback shows volunteers that you care about what they think. It can also help you establish policies and practices that support your organization’s volunteer engagement strategies.
Growing a strong base of volunteers can prove to be a great asset. The work product that you generate from volunteers’ efforts can help your nonprofit further its mission and also show funders that you are able to effectively leverage resources in the community that you serve.
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