Volunteer Coordination Tips, Ideas & Best Practices for Nonprofits

Volunteer Management / Friday, February 25th, 2022

At VolunteerMark, we know that strategy, tactics, processes and soft skills are some ingredients for a successful campaign and non-profit organization.

Whether work with volunteers at:

Coordination and management need to account to and for multiple aspects and parties.

You need to constantly support your volunteers and provide everything they need while on a task.

So, here are some of our tips that can help you become a magnificent volunteer coordinator.

Coordinate Openly & Communicate Authentically

One of the most important aspects of volunteer coordination is communication. 

Not everyone finds it easy to be open and authentic. Transparency and honesty are crucial to keeping your volunteers, and team development. That’s why working on internal communication strategies is mandatory. 

Some internal communication examples include using apps and platforms that will help you engage your volunteers as well as share information and stay in touch.

The key to authentic communication is reaching out often and genuinely caring about your volunteer team. That way, people will have a safe space where they can open up and improve relations inside the team.

Learn Using VolunteerMark.

Background Checks of Volunteers Reduces Operational Friction

Even though volunteering is an unpaid task and responsibility, you still need to be careful about who you let into the team. 

Sensitive groups such as children, the disabled, and the elderly can be easily victimized if we’re not careful enough. Therefore, doing background screening checks before you let volunteers serve is a must! 

People with volunteer experience in their resume should pose somesomewhat guarantee, but that doesn’t mean an organization should neglect newcomers.

Keep in mind that not everyone has the same intentions. 

  • Interview and do background checks before you “hire” and onboard a volunteer.
  • Ask about previous volunteering experiences pros and cons.
  • Get to know your team before proactive onboarding and operational coordination.

Measurable Goals & Non-profit Operations

  • Set measurable goals for your volunteer program.
  • Remember to base your judgments on the goals of your initiative and organization. 
  • Committing to decisions that are not in line with these objectives can lead to failure. 
  • Keep in mind that your mission is the foundation, and your goals should supplement and drive your organization to achieve it.

Respect Volunteer’s Time & Availability

Being a volunteer is a fun activity unless you’re forced to sacrifice your free time. Even though volunteers are expected to complete certain tasks, don’t push their limits and ask too much of them. Taking advantage of your unpaid workers can lead to volunteer burnout, which may even cause depression!So, you must be careful when assigning tasks to your volunteers. Make sure those tasks align with their schedules and availability. Consider using a rotating shift schedule for increased flexibility. If you cross those boundaries, chances are you’ll lose great volunteers. After all, they work because they want to, not because they have to!

Find The Right Tools For Volunteer Supervision

Volunteer management is often an extremely manual process that relies heavily on a small number of people who have the know-how and specific training system and processes.

Volunteer coordinators spend an overwhelming amount of time and resources on administration. 

Don’t let this happen to your nonprofit! Manage your volunteers more efficiently with an automated volunteer CRM-like management solution like VolunteerMark. We allow nonprofits to allocate more time and resources to the actual goals of your program. 

You may also want to consider using simple no-code tools or all-in-one solutions to build and set up and organize internal workflows.

We know that volunteer coordinators must have a good relationship with their organization, have an understanding of what volunteers will be doing and what their expectations are. As one, you must be available to help volunteers at any moment, be it on the field or training.

Survey Volunteers For Transparent Coordination

A volunteer satisfaction survey is a great means to gauge areas of your non-profit’s program that are strong and those that could use improvement. 

  • Make the most of your organization’s volunteer satisfaction survey and ask clear and purpose-focused questions. 
  • Always start with a transparent intro on why the survey matters. 
  • Relate to your organizational goals, so each question serves a unique purpose in the effort to encourage your volunteer system processes further.
  • Avoid the halo effect by communicating the importance of truthful responses. If volunteers avoid telling the truth, that leaves management in the dark. 
  • Communicate and alleviate the fear of supporters who don’t want to have a negative experience because of non-profit activities. 
  • When asking volunteers for feedback, your non-profit needs volunteer surveys that are anonymous. 
  • Use volunteer surveys to drive change.
  • Upkeep data integrity and safety.
  • Be thankful to supporters.

Motivate Volunteers With Purpose

Do good and discover a sense of purpose. 

Your organization should remind volunteers that their dedication to the cause is significant and has a systematic impact on the growth, development, and wellbeing of the community. When was the last time your nonprofit collected feedback on why volunteers devote their time and what they want to accomplish? 

Volunteers should be aware that altruism is driven within.

Reward & Recognize Contributor Persistency

Even though volunteers work for free, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t reward them and recognize their effort and unselfish dedication of volunteers to a charitable cause. Just because they volunteered for you, it doesn’t mean that you should exploit them. 

Selfless efforts should be acknowledged and praised before your entire team.

So, instead of taking their work for granted, show gratitude, recognize and reward them. 

If monetary compensation isn’t an option, set up an incentive scheme for volunteerism that is cost-effective and doesn’t drain resources from your organization 

On top of that, organizing group activities just for the team can be a fantastic reward. Even a simple thank you for your work can mean a lot to your volunteers. Introduce Gamification 

Your non-profit’s volunteer management may be enhanced by introducing gamification to the table. Points or tokens can be exchanged for non-profit merch, swag, or donation campaigns. 

Gamification will compel and inspire volunteers to keep contributing and donating to your mission. Contributors will see how their role compares to that of other volunteers in your non-profit. When volunteers wear your apparel, they are endorsing the cause. It’s crazy how easy it is to reward and recognize altruism. This is the single most important thing we can do to make sure that your volunteer efforts don’t end.

Personalize Volunteer Tasks

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. At VolunteerMark, we can agree that developing our skills is great. 

However, volunteering should be a mix of stepping out of your comfort zone and doing what you love. Therefore, personalizing tasks for your volunteers according to their strengths and weaknesses is the best way to use their potential.

Let’s face it, paperwork and similar boring tasks are no one’s strengths, but someone has to do it.

  • Think of the ways you can personalize those tasks and make them interesting. 
  • Don’t choose just one person for uninteresting tasks. 
  • Make it a group activity where you can chat, share experiences, ideas and listen to music at the same time.

Read: How to Find the Perfect Volunteer Position For You

Provide Adequate Volunteer Training

Some facilities that take in volunteers need them to do specific and rare tasks. Volunteers who are assigned to do those tasks need special training to perform them. 

For instance, if you coordinate volunteers who work with mentally ill individuals, your team needs to be ready for challenges such as the environment caters.

Therefore, before you indulge in such activities, make sure your volunteers go through adequate training that will capacitate them. Organize virtual webinars for volunteers or in-person sessions where you’ll teach them practical things they need to know about the volunteer position they were signed to. 

On top of that, don’t forget about developing soft skills and other necessary operational knowledge that will be of use on the field.

Seek New Ways To Engage Volunteers

Just like in any business, you need to come up with a strategy that will keep your volunteers engaged and retain them in your organization. Besides providing training and a flexible schedule, you need to find ways to keep the volunteers interested in your organization and cause. 

How can one do that?

Stay in touch with them and create a plan that will include their development as well. Use social media to promote your content. Even though you can use social media to engage with your volunteers, you can also use social media to target and recruit volunteers

By using social media, you should provide both propagate the cause and show potential volunteers insight into the way your organization operates.

Administrative Documentation & Sheets Choke Volunteer Activities

When choosing your volunteer management software, the most important element is what you want all volunteers to do. Put first what your organization intends to achieve with the initiative. 

You need a system that will help your supporters take the lead, engage in more events, or take part in other projects that promote your cause if you want them to do so.

The right software helps you empower volunteers but also achieve great ROI. While you want your contributors to be more productive, you also want them to feel empowered and not swamped with information.

It’s great to have information on all of your volunteers, but if that info is unorganized and overwhelming, it may be difficult for you and the volunteers to make smart decisions.

Using reliable volunteer management software such as VolunteerMark, so you can provide your volunteers’ access to vital information that will both empower and boost participation.

Make sure feedback from your volunteers comes first!

Read: Still Using Spreadsheets to Manage Volunteers? Here’s a Better Way

Make The Most Of The Interaction Between Financial Donors & Volunteers.

Mechanics here are simple and straightforward. 

A real-life contact is the best channel for awareness and mouth-to-mouth marketing. If you don’t have systems and practices for field communication, then wait no further!

Putting in place systems, practices, and inspiring examples of how people already part of your organization successfully spread and help the organization by leveraging their own contacts is an essential layer of coordinating volunteer and non-profit activities.

Leverage Existing Your Volunteer Pool for New Opportunities

Every component of a volunteer program should aim at appealing to volunteers, leveraging their strengths, and organizing data in an effort to reach mission attainment.

Sometimes social connections of your volunteer pool are what it takes to carry a successful local campaign.

Coordinating Volunteers, Recap

Managing a team can be quite difficult, costing a ton of time and nerves. Therefore, coordinating volunteers can be tricky and challenging for the inexperienced and organizing the way you organize and coordinate is a must. 

However, these tips can help you get the best out of the situation and provide your volunteer team with better experience than they’ve hoped for!

For a professional solution, explore VolunteerMark and how it can help you help others help the world!