Five Great Tips For Managing Your Volunteer Groups

Five Great Tips For Managing Your Volunteer Groups

One of the trickiest skills for new Nonprofits to learn – and for any Nonprofit to perfect – is the ability to effectively manage a diverse group of individuals who’ve agreed to volunteer their time in support of your cause. Handling any number of unique personalities and schedules can be a complex task.

At Universal Events Inc., we’ve worked closely with our Nonprofit partners on this issue and have seen a wide variety of approaches, with varying success rates. Based on what we’ve learned, we’ve compiled five essential tips to help Nonprofits navigate these challenges and build a thriving volunteer community.

1. Effective Recruitment and Retention Strategies

Attracting and retaining dedicated volunteers is a long-term project with a lot of nuances. It’s a great feeling when someone with so many of the skills you need shows up and wants to help in any way they can. The hard part is sustaining and building that energy over time. You also need to constantly attract new volunteers with that same energy. You’ll need strategies for this. Start by articulating the benefits of making time for your cause, emphasizing community engagement, skill development, and fun events or volunteer rewards on offer. To sustain that initial excitement, it’s important to build in good-grace incentives for their hard work. Plus, if you’re seen as not able to retain volunteers, it could indicate underlying organizational issues.

2. Invest in Volunteer Training

You want to be sure your volunteers feel that they’re getting a chance to build their skills and contribute in a meaningful way. The best way to show this, especially at first, is by incorporating a training program. This gives them a chance to tell you about their individual skills and how they’d like to contribute. When you’re able to give them roles that fit their wishes, it does wonders to lock in their loyalty and give them the chance a shine.

3. Smooth Onboarding Process

Having a well-oiled process for onboarding new volunteers shows them immediately that you’re a professional organization and puts them at ease as to what’s expected of them. This is a chance to clearly outline your mission and how their role fits into it, and provide go-to sources for all the information and tools they’ll need. Include access to an organizational calendar and the freedom to sign up for events or give feedback.

4. Keep Up Their Energy

Find out what motivates them, person to person, and make sure you’re incorporating that into your plans for them. This will significantly impact their commitment level as well as their productivity. Keep up a dialogue to ensure they feel valued, supported, and informed. If you want, use an app or a text thread to keep them feeling connected and informed.

5. Show Your Gratitude

This is your main currency with your volunteers. Make sure they know how appreciated they are and how important their work is to your mission. You don’t have to overdo it, as long as they know you’re sincere. But these gestures of thanks will make a huge difference in building loyalty and trust. In general be on the lookout for any ways you can empower can empower volunteers and foster a sense of belonging and contribution.

These are some of the basics we’ve learned about building a foundation of volunteers. We hope they’re helpful in your attempts to build a strong volunteer management process.