Volunteers are a treasure. They make it possible for an organization’s impact to ripple into the community in ways that are not possible with the efforts of staff alone.
Not all opportunities are equal in the eyes of those valuable volunteers. Connecting a community member to work that is meaningful to them allows organizations to leverage that individual’s talents to achieve organization goals and leave them feeling good about their contribution.
Let’s take a quick pop quiz! If a Volunteer Manager receives an email from a community member interested in contributing their time to the organization they should…
A) Add the interested community member to a volunteer opportunity email list and cross their fingers that the community member signs up for an opportunity.
B) Follow up with the community member to learn more about their interests and find the right volunteer opportunity fit.
If you answered “B” you are right! If you answered “A” you are right! Wait…what?! The truth is there isn’t a “right” answer. But there is an answer that is more likely to get the results you desire: genuinely engaged volunteers making a big difference in the community.
The first step? Get to know your volunteers!
It doesn’t need to be a complicated process (unless you want it to be!). Start with a volunteer interest form, an email back asking a few key questions, or a quick phone call. What should you ask them? That depends on your needs! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Why your organization?
Volunteers have many options when it comes to giving back. Knowing what made them pick you will give you insight into what community issues they are truly passionate about and help you link them to the work your organization is doing to solve those issues.
What skills and experience do they wish to share with your organization?
A volunteer who is an auditor by day may have Financial Review Volunteer written all over them. That may be exactly how they wish to contribute to your efforts. Or they may be looking for a way to help that has nothing to do with their profession. Move beyond what skills a volunteer possesses and ask what skills they wish to share with your organization and their community.
What types of volunteer opportunities do they enjoy?
Oh the possibilities! Does your volunteer like manning a table at community events, evaluating applications for funding, sitting on a committee, stuffing envelopes at home, advocating for community causes, working in a group, working alone, volunteering every week, volunteering once each year, for example? You could go on and on, couldn’t you? Value your volunteers’ time by learning their interests and avoiding filling their inbox with opportunities that don’t match them.
How would they like to be recognized?
We all have our preferred ways to be thanked. Some want a certificate of recognition, some like a simple thank you email, and some like to be called to the front of the room for a boisterous round of applause. Whatever their preference, after their hard work, they deserve it!
Can our grant management system help?
It can if it is e-CImpact! Here are a few ways e-CImpact can support the impact efforts of you and your volunteers:
• Schedule volunteer events and trainings
• Customize profile information to track volunteer interests
• Share tailored announcements on your branded Volunteer Site
• Schedule and send trackable emails to volunteers
• Equip your volunteers with a comprehensive set of evaluation tools
• Use powerful report templates for actionable information
• SO much more!
The Bottom Line
When you get to know your volunteers, you can connect them to opportunities they will find meaningful and enjoyable, which makes them more likely to stay engaged in making a positive difference in your community.
Are you ready for a first-rate grant and impact management system backed by top-notch support? Learn how having e-CImpact in your community investment toolbox can help your organization by reaching out to the Seabrooks team at firstname.lastname@example.org.