Don’t Keep All That Volunteer Engagement Knowledge to Yourself!

VolunteerMatch is now accepting Nonprofit Insights Webinar session proposals.

Has your organization done something out-of-the-ordinary with your volunteer program? Have you witnessed new trends or conducted research around volunteerism? Are you simply a volunteer engagement rockstar?

Don’t keep all that knowledge to yourself! VolunteerMatch is asking nonprofit professionals, academics, and/ or volunteers with something to share to submit session proposals for our Nonprofit Insights Webinar series.

Topics should relate to the webinar’s mission of building a better world through volunteerism. Some examples of overarching topics include: volunteer program manager empowerment, engaging volunteers through social media, setting up a virtual volunteer program, fundraising strategy, engaging skilled volunteers, corporate-nonprofit partnerships, etc.

By presenting at a Nonprofit Insights Webinar, you will be a voice in the community of nonprofits at VolunteerMatch – they’ll benefit from your knowledge, experience and opinions. Plus, promotional outreach to our massive networks will get your name and your topic in front of a wide audience. Finally, it will be fun, we promise!

Interested? Learn more and/ or submit a session proposal.

Put Some Spark in Your Volunteer Program!

Sparkler FireworkFor many people, July is the time of year for  fireworks and camping. For many volunteer program managers, it can also be the time of year when needs and programs increase, and volunteers go on vacation.

When I worked at a wildlife hospital, the 4th of July was always super hectic – the height of busy animal season – but not a day most people think about volunteers. For others, things slow down a little – school programs are on hiatus, staff on vacation. Whether your July is a volunteer vacation or your busy season, think about spending an hour (or two) on one of the upcoming VolunteerMatch webinars posted on our Learning Center.

I’m kicking off the month with a session on Single Days of Service on July 14th. So many individuals and groups want done-in-a-day projects that have real impact. It can be tricky to create single day opportunities that are both meaningful and impactful. I’ll share some ideas and how to start working with others – volunteer leaders, paid staff, and corporate partners – to make this a reality. Perfect timing to get your opportunities posted for 9/11 Day of Service!

Speaking of impact, I’ll be discussing how to talk about the real impact of volunteering in your organization, and how to tell that story on July 16th. Telling the Story of Volunteer Impact is one of my favorite topics. So often, when we talk about volunteers, we leave out the good stuff. I’ll share some best practices for telling your story, and show you a video from an organization that’s getting it right. (You might want to have a Kleenex handy…)

Too often, we don’t think about how volunteers can help us run our programs, better engage volunteers, or help us develop opportunities. So on July 21st, I’ll be asking you to Walk the Walk: Engage Volunteers in your Volunteer Engagement Program. We can model the type of meaning volunteer engagement we’d like to see from other departments in our organization, as well as get off the hamster wheel of daily activities.

Any time you make a change, whether it’s including a done in a day opportunity or engaging volunteers in the recruitment, screening, or training of other volunteers, it can be challenging. However, not many people are comfortable with the uncertainty that comes with change. On July 23rd I’ll be talking about Managing Difficult Volunteer Transitions, including what to do when it’s time to ask a volunteer to leave your organization.

You can find the complete list of all of our webinars here. I hope you’ll join me at one of these always free online trainings this summer!

A Closer Look at the Volunteer Program Improvement Tool for Hunger-Fighting Organizations

A few months ago, we introduced you to the Volunteer Program Improvement Tool, a free tool developed exclusively for hunger-related organizations*.

Today, let’s take a closer look.Volunteer Program Improvement Tool for Hunger NonprofitsAt VolunteerMatch, we recognize that a successful volunteer program isn’t just about attracting volunteers. It isn’t just about getting internal buy-in. Nor is it just about keeping volunteers engaged, having a good program infrastructure, giving volunteers the recognition they deserve, or letting your community know about your volunteer program.

No, it isn’t just about any of these things. It’s about all of them.

If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry. The Volunteer Program Improvement Tool takes you through each component of a successful volunteer program, one at a time.

Maybe you rock at getting volunteers on board, but have trouble keeping them. Not only will this tool diagnose that, it will give you concrete action steps and resources for strengthening your volunteer retention.

How? All you need to do is answer a few simple questions about your volunteer program.

After you complete the tool, you’ll receive a report created just for you, highlighting your program’s strengths and weaknesses, and a path for improvement.

What are you waiting for? Get on the path to a stronger volunteer program. Access the free tool today.

*You may be wondering, “Why hunger organizations?” VolunteerMatch developed this tool as part of our partnership with ConAgra Foods Foundation, a company with a big commitment to end childhood hunger. Part of this commitment includes equipping nonprofits with the resources they need to do what they do best – create real change in their communities in the fight against hunger. And for many food banks and similar organizations, this change is dependent on volunteers.

[WEBINAR] Making Big Bets: How Changes in Volunteer Engagement Strategies Pay Off!

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The Nonprofit Insights webinar series brings major thought leaders and experts to you for thought-provoking presentations on a variety of issues related to technology and engaging your community members for social good.

What volunteers want to do with their time, how they want to get involved and how they make to make a difference is changing.

For many organizations this means that leaders of volunteer engagement are scrambling to rethink volunteer work and what it means to be a volunteer in their organizations. Creating new opportunities for volunteers can be challenging – how do you create these new opportunities, how do gain buy-in from paid staff and existing volunteers, how do you know it’s working?

Join Carla Lehn, Library Programs Consultant for the California State Library and Beth Steinhorn, President of JFFIxler Group as they talk about what they’ve learned about transforming volunteer engagement programs. Beth will share lessons she’s learned from engaging Boomers as volunteers and the importance of creating impact-driven opportunities, and Carla will share how she’s transformed what it means to be a library volunteer and how she worked with paid staff to make this happen.

Both Carla and Beth have written chapters in VolunteerMatch’s new book Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World. This book explores the innovative volunteer engagement approaches that are reshaping nonprofits and their communities, and shows how you can bring these approaches to your own organization.

Who Should Attend:

  • Leaders of Volunteer Engagement
  • Volunteer Program Managers

Reserve your spot today!
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
11am – 12pm PT (2-3pm ET)
Cost: Free!

Follow along with the conversation on Twitter: @VolunteerMatch and #vmlearn.

Sharpen Your Skills this Summer with VolunteerMatch’s Free Webinars

Learn new volunteer skills this summer“What are you doing for your summer vacation?”

Because VolunteerMatch participates in the Cristo Rey program, we have high school students in our office a couple of days a week. On her last day, our sophomore asked me what I was doing for my summer vacation.

For many 16-year-olds, summer means free time and possibilities. While not the same as going to sleep-away camp, what about taking a little in-office training vacation?

I have some great topics coming up this month in VolunteerMatch’s Learning Center. The focus for June is how to plan for the future and evolve your program to work with the volunteer of tomorrow.

The month starts with Engaging the Volunteer of the Future on June 9th. I’ll share some of the things we know about volunteers based on first-hand experience, and how to evolve your program to engage today’s, and tomorrow’s, volunteers.

Have you thought about how well your program is working now, and what your program should look like in 5 years? I’ll be covering both of those topics – starting with Measuring Success on June 11th, and following up with Developing a Strategic Plan on June 16th.

Measuring Success covers evaluating the impact and outcomes of your volunteer engagement program, and the satisfaction of your volunteers. This topic will give you some good ideas on what kind of information you can share on how volunteers make an impact on your organization.

Developing a Strategic Plan for your volunteer engagement program is a hot topic in the space right now, and for good reason. As our population demographics change (millennials now make up the largest percentage of the work force), we need to evolve our volunteer engagement strategies as well. This webinar will help you start these conversations and pull together the right stakeholders (including volunteers) to create a plan for the next 5 years.

I’ll end the month with one of our Core Component topics by digging into Volunteer Handbooks on June 18th. This session includes samples and ideas for keeping your policies and procedures relevant for the volunteer program you have now. I’ll also cover how to build buy-in from paid staff and volunteers for these policies so you don’t have to be the only sheriff in town!

Even if you can’t get away for the summer, I encourage you to take a short break to learn something new!

You can find the complete list of all of our webinars here. I hope you’ll join me at one of these always free online trainings in 2015! And, stay tuned for new dates and topics coming soon.