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Using volunteers to achieve your goals

Nonprofits are not one size fits all. That’s because every nonprofit has different volunteer activities, different volunteers, and different objectives. 
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NFPs are highly diverse but some things ring true across all nonprofit organisations: volunteers are the bread and butter of your organisation; and you, as an organisation, have a desired outcome, a goal that you’re working towards – whatever that may be. 

So how do you manage your volunteers in a way that has them working towards that desired outcome? We share some tips below. 

Define What Success Looks To You & Goal Set

First steps first: you need to define what success looks like to your organisation. 
It might be having 20 active and ready volunteers on your books. It might be completing 5 important taks for your organisation a month. It might be raising a level of money for a number of causes. More likely than not, it’s a combination of a few things.

Whatever it is, you need to define it. Once you’ve established that, you can set in place some smart goals and start working towards them. Make them tangible, and achievable by staff and volunteers. Then, communicate them. 

It’s likely a moving target to begin with, but if you can communicate to everyone what they are working towards when they volunteer with you, you’ll have a better chance of success. 

Get Volunteers To Help Recruit For You 

Peer to peer recommendations tend to have the best success in converting someone to try or do something. That’s because the recommendation is coming from someone they know, respect and trust. 
The same can be said when it comes to recruiting volunteers. The role of volunteers in a nonprofit isn’t just limited to each single task they partake in; if you’re clear about what it is you’re trying to achieve – such as growing volunteer numbers – and your volunteers are engaged and you’ve fostered strong relationships with them, they are likely to want to help in growing the number of volunteers with you. 
People will very happily spread the word when they feel like part of your nonprofit family and believe in what you are trying to achieve. 

Other reasons they’ll be happy to spread the word include that you’ve given them something to work towards (perhaps as part of a volunteer task), and that you’ve provided them with a simple way to recruit / share the love that requires little work. 

Some great ways to encourage volunteers to recruit other volunteers include:

  • Include a link on web pages and in emails that encourages volunteers to “share with a friend”
  • Profile volunteers & share positive feedback on social channels that feature them that they will want to share
  • Create volunteer recruitment hashtags and ask volunteers to share on their socials
  • Celebrate or incentivise referrals

Put in Place Lead Volunteers 

Putting in place lead volunteers is a great way to optimise the work of your volunteers.
A lead volunteer can oversee and assist in managing volunteers for single events, or for your nonprofit in general. They might be able to assist with some rostering, on the day coordination, and the organising of fun volunteer get-togethers. 

Find someone who goes above and beyond when volunteering, and is keen to take on some extra leadership responsibilities; chances are, you already have at least one volunteer on your roster already. 
Put the role out to the people, or designate lead volunteers as a way of recognising their commitment and leadership qualities.

Tip for Volaby users:
The Volaby volunteer management platform offers managers the ability to set up Open Rosters. This allows volunteers to add themselves to the roster freely. It also gives you the ability to appoint certain volunteers as “Activity Leaders” who can then manage rosters and teams specifically for their activity (e.g. a weekly Friday afternoon outreach shift to the local community centre). 

Invest in Your Volunteers 

When it comes to overseeing your volunteers, try to mentor, not supervise.
If you invest in your volunteers, they’ll invest in you and will always be working towards achieving your organisation’s desired outcome. 

We’ve talked about training previously, but remember this doesn’t have to be paid for, read-book type training. 

Think again about what motivates your volunteers – workshops, networking events, speakers (small business owners with limited cashflow are often more than happy to help out charities in this way), and out-of-the-box group activities that enrich, reward and motivate. Best to ask your volunteers directly what THEY want – then create content around this. 

Investing in your most important resource – your volunteers – will always pay returns. That’s because even if they leave your organisation, they will leave with a positive experience and will be likely to spread the good word of your work, which helps to incentivise others to come volunteer – or even donate!

Need More Help Using Volunteers to Achieve Your Organisations Desired Outcome? 

Attempting to implement a strategy that facilitates using volunteers to achieve your organisation’s desired outcome can be challenging; if you do not have the right tools and systems in place, it’s practically impossible. 

At Volaby, we offer a volunteer management system that helps to minimise the time spent managing volunteers, and maximises the impact of your volunteers. 

Our online platforms allows you to empower your volunteers with a ‘self-select rostering system’, allowing them to see new opportunities in your organisation. You can also schedule volunteers to the areas that make the most sense to your operation.

Now, you can focus your time on setting and achieving the goals of your nonprofit, with less of the labour and admin.

Our platform is made by nonprofits, for nonprofits. We’ve made it easy-to-use and intuitive for all users. We invite you to get in touch and trial Volaby for free today, with no obligations.
We look forward to speaking with you soon. 

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