• Rose Tatum

The Making of a Successful Volunteer Program

Are you in the midst of starting a nonprofit organization or evaluating your volunteer program? Nonprofit organizations understandably focus heavily on funding. Having a well-established and successful volunteer program could greatly impact your organization's bottom line.

Below are some characteristics of a successful volunteer program.

Potential volunteers can easily find information on volunteering with your organization.

When someone is interested in volunteering with your organization, they can easily go online to find information on how to do so. By going to your website, the potential volunteer can learn more about your volunteer program including what the needs are of your organization, what volunteer opportunities are available, what those volunteer positions look like (i.e. type of duties and time commitment), information on onboarding process and application to get started.

Your organization has an in-depth onboarding process.

It is important to ensure potential volunteers are a good fit for your organization and they receive proper training. This includes an application, background check, privacy agreements, media release forms, meeting to discuss interests and skills, orientation to familiarize potential volunteers with the organization, and training to prepare potential volunteers

for their position.

You have a database to coordinate volunteer schedules, track volunteer hours, store volunteer information, record volunteer milestones, and report volunteer impact.

A proper database will help you stay organized and keep all of your volunteer information in one place. This is imperative when reporting volunteer impact. Why is it important?

  1. You will need this information when applying for grants and reporting back to grant makers.

  2. It is necessary when explaining your organization’s impact to your donors and the general public.

  3. It motivates volunteers (they want to know they are actually making a difference) and allows you to recognize outstanding volunteers.

Volunteers are regularly shown gratitude and encouragement.

You want your volunteers to return regularly and not only give their time, but also their money (if they have the means). Volunteers ultimately want to support a nonprofit that is organized, where they feel like they are truly making a difference, and they are appreciated.

Showing gratitude can come in many forms - verbally giving thanks, sending cards of appreciation, giving small gifts (loads of ideas on Pintrest), recognition at events, acknowledging birthdays and special occasions, giving shout outs to volunteers on social media and in newsletters, etc.

Your volunteers are committed and return on a regular basis.

If the majority of your volunteers are committed to your organization, return on a regular basis, are also donors, and tell their friends about your mission, then you are doing it right!

If your organization is just getting started or is in need of a program revamp, I am here for you! Let's chat. Email me at rtatumconsulting@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading!


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