Published on February 26, 2014
Welcome to the Nonprofit Volunteer Program Manager Training Day! Jennifer Bennett, CVA Senior Manager, Education & Training VolunteerMatch Page
What Does Volunteer Engagement Mean? 2
What does Volunteer Engagement mean? Volunteer engagement describes a cooperative and collaborative relationship between a volunteer and an organization. • Volunteers contribute to outlining or defining the work they want to do. • Volunteer management is the foundation or structure on which volunteer engagement can happen. • New model for collaboration with volunteers – not a traditional model, not your mother’s volunteering. 3
Keys to Creating Volunteer Engagement • Develop work that is meaningful to the volunteer and important to the organization. • Create a connection between volunteers, clients and your mission • Establish the foundation necessary to support a diverse program of volunteer engagement • Know and share the impact of the work volunteers do
Engage the Volunteer of the Future! 5
What are we talking about? • Moving beyond “Volunteers Needed” • How do volunteers find you? How can you find them? • Finding the right volunteers • Create Connection • Building a culture of involvement, flexibility and understanding • What next?
“Volunteers Needed” What does your volunteer program look like to a volunteer? • Cul-de-sac • Nowhere to go when you get there • Country Road • If you hang in there it goes somewhere, eventually • Highway • It’s a direct route to impact and engagement Volunteers have a choice!
This is not your mother’s volunteering Shifts in generations create a new model • Volunteers hope to make an impact • Volunteer task lists replaced by meaningful, targeted work, skills based • Meaningful to the volunteer, important to the organization • Volunteers need flexibility • Does not imply that they can’t be dependable, reliable, accountable • Volunteers want to understand • Answer the question “Why?”
How do volunteers find you? 80% of Volunteer Coordinators tell us the “Word of Mouth” is their #1 recruitment method What are your volunteers saying about your organization? What can you do about it?
Pros and Cons of “WoM” • You can create a positive experience • Meaningful and important • The right volunteer in the right job • Saying no politely and professionally • Make it easier for volunteers to share • Arm them with information • Social media • Don’t keep them in a silo
Pros and Cons of “WoM” • Passive • You can’t make your volunteers tell their friends, but you can encourage them • Depends on earned marketing/media • Easier now than ever – but can be negative • Doesn’t bring in volunteers who don’t have a connection or know who you are
What we know about volunteers VolunteerMatch by the numbers: 81,861 Active opportunities nationwide 7,623,625 Connections since 1998 2,500 Average referrals a day Around 130 during peak hours 2-3 Referrals for each visitor Lots of volunteers don’t have a strong idea about where or how they want to volunteer. They are looking for a opportunity to make an impact and find a cause they care about. (79% and 82% Hart 2010)
Find the right volunteers! When inviting volunteers to participate in your organization finding the right fit becomes even more important • Know who you want • Comprehensive position descriptions: skills, experience, traits or characteristics • Create a strong foundation and manage expectations • No bait and switch • Policies and procedures manual, NDA, Letter of agreement
Create more Involvement • Training and experience pathways • Do volunteers know what they need to do to be able to fill each role in your program? • Is it clear how that happens, or is it mysterious or based on longevity? • Do you offer those classes or have on the job experience checklists? •Bring more positions into your volunteer engagement program • Let volunteers help you! • Volunteers know the work that volunteers do - empower them to document or create the foundation and flexibility you need.
Create more Flexibility • Are there different types of opportunities or different levels of involvement available? • One size doesn’t fit all • Doesn’t allow for growth or retraction as a volunteer’s life changes • Do you offer project based opportunities, virtual opportunities, micro volunteering •Where does the rigidity come from? You, organization leadership, the past, or perceived ideas about volunteers?
Create more Understanding • Keep volunteers informed • New ideas or theories in your impact area • New policies, practices or projects in your program • Milestones in your organization • Incorporate impact into recognition • Don’t just say thank you - share the work the volunteer has done • Include clients in the thank you message • Spread the thank you outside of your volunteer program •Social media, internal and external communications
Create the Connection Turn your volunteers into Advocates! • Do volunteers know your mission? •Major accomplishments, funders • Do they know about other programs? • Areas and impacts besides their own • Empower them to spread the word • Keep them up to date • Use social media • Do you know which of your volunteers are also donors?
Tools for Evolving your Program • Think strategically! • Do you have a 3 or 5 year plan for your program? • Get off the hamster wheel • What type of program do you have now? • What type of program do you want to have? • Start with the easy (easier?) stuff • Create or document the structure that exists now • Identify volunteer position descriptions, how they fit together, what volunteers need to know to do them. •Don’t do this alone!
Tools for Evolving your Program •Where and why do volunteers drop out? • Ask them! • Survey past and current volunteers about what they like, are proud of, don’t understand about your program • Create more flexibility • What did your volunteers tell you they wanted to do, but couldn’t - so they left? • Where does the rigidity come from? You, organization leadership, the past, or perceived ideas about volunteers? • Create a communication plan to turn volunteers in to advocates
Things to Think About • You don’t have to change everything right now • Putting pathways in is an easier first step • Identify the priorities or critical positions • Invite volunteers to take on leadership roles • Volunteers want to tell you what they like (and don’t like) about your program • Invite your superstar volunteers to take the lead • Share your milestones and successes with the organization • Manager, leadership, co-workers and, of course, the volunteers!
Engaging Skilled and Pro Bono Volunteers 21
Introduction • Defining Pro Bono Consulting & Skilled Volunteering • Getting Started • Building Support • Developing Projects • Finding the Talent • Managing for Success • Working with Corporations 22
Who are Skilled Volunteers? • All volunteers have skills • Skilled volunteers and Pro bono consultants bring their professional-level skills • Traditionally associated with attorneys • Now also being applied to other professions • Marketing/PR • Graphic/Web Design • IT • Accounting 23
Getting Started: Building Support • Identify Stakeholders • Board, Exec. Management, Program Managers, Paid Staff, Volunteer Staff • Communicate to create buy-in • How could the impact of staff members, programs, the organization be expanded by engaging pro bono and skilled volunteers? • Reach out to your champions 24
Getting Started: Developing Projects What could your organization accomplish if not limited by available skills and time? Successful projects include: • • • • Measurable deliverables or outcomes Accountabilities Timeline Evaluation http://www.taprootfoundation.org/get-probono/be-powered-pro-bono/project-finder 25
Getting Started: Finding the Talent • Communication Plan • Internal and external • Research Existing Volunteer Pool • Applications, Resumes • Recruit from Outside • VolunteerMatch, Corporations, Colleges, Professional Groups • Screening the Candidates • Approach as if you would be paying for service • Say “No” and Hear “No” 26
Getting Started: Managing for Success • Define the Project • Who, What, When, Where, How. • MOU, Letter of Agreement • Include key evaluation or check in points. • Delegate • The outcome is more important than the process. • Let go without checking out • Manage Expectations • Does everyone have the same definition of success? 27
Working with Corporations • Identify skills areas needed • May be primary or support functions • Match corporate structure to organization • Grassroots nonprofits consider small businesses • Work towards creating long-term relationship • Single day, ongoing, leadership roles 28
Things to Think About • • • • • Start Small Work with your Champions Tout Successes Don’t Force It Exit Plan • Don’t give up, return to the phase where the project went awry. 29
Contact Me: Jennifer Bennett, CVA Senior Manager, Education & Training VolunteerMatch @JenBennettCVA firstname.lastname@example.org
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