Volunteer Management Ideas
By: Jessie Lynn Olien, Co-Director of the Volunteer Program Assessment Service at UNC-Charlotte
Volunteers amplify the work your organization does – they can share the workload, raise awareness, and help your organization meet its mission. While volunteer programs are an essential part of many non-profit organizations, it takes time and effort to ensure these programs run effectively.
1. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
The first step in maintaining a successful volunteer program is understanding the health of your program. Knowing where you can, and should, improve allows you to access key resources and allocate them effectively. The Volunteer Program Assessment (VPA) uses a comprehensive and validated volunteer attitudes and engagement survey to assist organizational leaders in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of their volunteer program. With the help of grants, VPA offers scholarships for free assessment services. To learn more about VPA and apply for a free scholarship, visit http://www.vpa.uncc.edu
2. Get Organized
Great organization is key to a smooth-running volunteer program. VolunteerSpot's free online signups and volunteer calendars provide organizations with tools and software designed to optimize your volunteer program. Their free services include, but are not limited to, scheduling tools and wizards to plan shifts, donations, tasks and volunteer jobs, the ability to collect contributions from members and donors, automated reminders, mobile access, eCalendary syncing of volunteer jobs and streamlined communication tools. Take a free tour
3. Understand Your “Fit”
Who’s going to be effective in your organization? Before bringing volunteers into your program, you need to know what you value in your volunteers and then accordingly, communicate these desires to your potential volunteers. The Humane Society of the United States has great resources for helping you screen volunteer applicants and make decisions regarding who will be the best fit for your organization, click here.
4. Show You Care
Lastly, never forget to show your volunteers how much they mean to you! Create a culture of appreciation within your organization, where volunteers feel valued and informed. This goes beyond recognition events, awards, and gifts – it filters down to day-to-day efforts such as making sure volunteers are thanked for their work, in the loop regarding key issues, and treated with respect by paid staff. You can find great ideas for showing your appreciation at VolunteerMatch.org, click here.
About the Author:
Originally from Portland Oregon, Jessie Lynn Olien received her BA in Psychology from Michigan State University. She is currently a fourth-year doctoral student in the Organizational Science program at University of North Carolina Charlotte. In addition to her work as co-director and consultant with the Volunteer Program Assessment, Jessie also conducts research on non-profit management.