Volunteers are an essential component of any successful nonprofit organization. As such, it is vital to have a volunteer program and develop it continuously. However, given the challenges of operating under the pandemic, nonprofits may need to find new ways of engaging volunteers.
Here again, innovation provides a lifeline for organizations to succeed during times of change. As previously highlighted, the virtual space provides advantages that can be used to adapt and triumph. Along with this, a new volunteer plan can be developed to better suit your organization under changing circumstances.
Here are just a few strategies that may be helpful:
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Consider targeting a different volunteer base, whether it be a different age range, cultural group, or location.
Diversifying your volunteer pool can bring new skill sets and experience, not to mention fresh energy and ideas
By increasing your volunteer reach, you also stand to grow awareness for your nonprofit.
Once you have identified your new target volunteer base, strategize around them.
What do they bring that could help your organization?
Looking to attract millennials? Chances are pretty good that you can find one willing to donate a few hours to help you build your social media presence.
What other virtual or online opportunities can you create for volunteers to contribute?
Develop and foster meaningful connections.
Whether meeting in person or virtually, take the time to understand each volunteer’s goals and how they can fit into your organization’s plans. When they can work towards personal goals while meeting yours, everyone is more aligned.
Developing meaningful relationships not only benefits your volunteer goals, it helps to build positive relationships and grow your network and community.
With virtual tools such as Zoom, organizations are no longer restricted by physical boundaries or regions. Recruit more widely to spread your mission and grow diversity.
Communicate regularly with your volunteer base, whether with organizational updates or new volunteer opportunities.
Show your appreciation. This may seem obvious, but it is important enough to consider developing an appreciation program.
Create a program in which volunteers can work towards rewards based on hours of service. Rewards can be branded t-shirts, mugs, etc., or ask local businesses to donate services or items.
Host virtual appreciation parties and events. One of the advantages of going virtual is that it’s easier than ever to host a party. Fun events for volunteers is one way to bolster continued involvement and morale for your cause.
Whether you reward your volunteers or not, it is essential to follow up volunteer activity with appreciation messages. Convey how each one of your volunteers specifically contributed to your cause.
By developing a well-rounded volunteer program, you ultimately foster not only a support base but ambassadors for your nonprofit. Using an interconnected, wholistic approach to your organization’s goals leads to organic growth that you don’t have to do all on your own. The more you’re able to involve your volunteers, the more invested they are likely to become. In the end, investment in your volunteers is an investment in your organization.