To effectively manage volunteers, you need a structured, systematic approach. However, many not for profits get stuck in all the administrative tasks associated with volunteer management.
In this post, we’ll offer four tips for simplifying the management process – and yielding even greater value from your volunteers’ efforts.
#1: Stop Relying on Spreadsheets
It’s hard to believe that many of the largest not for profits still rely on spreadsheets and handwritten registration forms. In fact, according to a recent study, 30% of organisations still use electronic or paper documents to manage volunteers.
It may be obvious, but a document-based volunteer management process has a number of drawbacks. These include:
- Frustrating experience for volunteers
- Lack of visibility for the organisation
- Unnecessary risk of data loss
- Duplicate or inaccurate information
- Inaccessible data to management
Compare these challenges to using a volunteer management software application. Rather than preparing, printing, and filing documents, the software can do the administrative work for you. In addition, volunteers can be easily organised into groups with a few clicks.
#2: Let Volunteers Do the Heavy Lifting
Your volunteer coordinator’s job description shouldn’t consist mostly of administrative work. In fact, effective not for profits understand how to alleviate the administrative burden by asking volunteers to do some of the heavy lifting.
Instead of calling or emailing to ask about upcoming events, volunteers can instead be directed to a centralised, web-based event portal. Volunteers appreciate being able to browse (and register for) upcoming events from the convenience of home. Some volunteer systems can even recommend similar events to volunteers, further engaging and nurturing your most important advocates.
Stop and think about the value that your organisation can reap by moving to a self-managed volunteer experience. Coordinators no longer spend their time manually tracking down missing information or scrambling for events. Instead, the system keeps everything structured, allowing your team to focus on running better events.
#3: Engage on the Go
What is the one thing that most of your volunteers and staff have with them at all time? If you said a smartphone, you are correct.
For the event-focused organisation, staying nimble is very important. Weather, illness, and other unforeseen conditions can change your plans at a moment’s notice. When these types of situations arise, email and text messaging can prove invaluable for keeping everyone informed.
In addition, some systems can even turn volunteers’ smartphones into registration kiosks. Simply print a check-in flyer containing an event-specific QR code, and volunteers can scan it to get started. Volunteers spend less time waiting in line and more time helping your cause.
#4: Convert Volunteers to Donors (Automatically)
One of the most costly aspects of running a not for profit involves cultivating new donors. By using a volunteer management system that synchronises to your CRM, your organisation can instantly grow your donor list within minutes.
You might be surprised to learn that many not for profits never bother asking their volunteers for financial contributions. For some organisations, the thought of manually comparing donor and volunteer lists is too daunting to consider. By connecting your volunteer system to your CRM, you can bypass the manual effort involved with cross-correlating lists. This frees up more time to develop strategies for converting volunteers to donors.
Take the Next Step to a Simpler Process
Technology is helping many not for profits simplify their volunteer management processes. With the right system, your organisation can spend less time doing administrative work and more time engaging volunteers.
About Corbit Harrison
Corbit Harrison is VolunteerHub’s Chief Operating Officer and has been actively helping not for profit organisations engage constituents for over 10 years.
To learn more about VolunteerHub, click here.