But What’s in It for Me?
Reality and experience have a slight perspective here: who can and will do what, and can the work be done reliably, well and within a certain time frame? The answer is to thoughtfully match your volunteer offers with your organizational needs. While it is wonderful to have an offer to stuff envelopes, if you are doing email, this is not going to work for either side.
A Different Currency
Be clear on the possible volunteer needs for your firm: what do you want and what do you need that a non-staff person can do? How easy or intricate is the job? Does it require contact with the public? Who will manage the volunteers, instruct and assist them? Is there joy, accomplishment and results at the end?
Volunteers may not get paid, but they do require care and feeding, literally and otherwise. Your attention, organization, supervision and most of all appreciation is how they are compensated. A frequent mistake is to assume your volunteer is so motivated that they will start and continue with minimal staff involvement- and this is where so many go wrong.
Structure and Thanks
Managing the resource of volunteers can make your nonprofit vital and dynamic, so long as you’re a realistic about how to best apply their energies and interests. The removal of a salary requires a substitution of appreciation and acknowledgment; this is absolutely critical to recruit, maintain and grow your volunteer base.
Setting up a strong volunteer program is very worthwhile effort and offers dividends to all involved; let us help you identify where that help will be most impactful for the volunteer, and for your organization.
Same as a Job, Only More
Often time, volunteers are not given the respect and effort that they deserve; “You get what you pay for” does not necessarily apply.
If this were a paid job, you would list necessary skills and experience, the same applies here. Does your volunteer have the comfort level with the computer to research or write, can they make calls to donors and engage them in conversation, will they really ask for silent auction donations?
- What can they do, and what do they want to do?
- How much time and when, can they help out?
What do YOU want?
Have a clear job, project, description.
I have found that by explaining what the goal of that particular project may be and how it fits in to the overall plan for the organization, the volunteer feels more engaged and part of the program.
A strong volunteer volunteer manager is worth their weight in gold; invest in this person. Be a partner, not a boss. Share responsibility, but retain authority. Ultimately the staff is responsible for the output of the volunteers-there is the critical difference between staff and volunteer support.