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.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0 Author Spotlight: Kelly Moran, National MS Society

VolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World, features chapters from 35 experts in the field of volunteer engagement. In this series of blog posts, get to know these #35experts and their areas of expertise.

Today’s expert: Kelly Moran, Associate VP of Community Development, National MS Society.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0 Author Kelly Moran

Kelly with her daughter Emmie

First of all, what is your chapter about?
Often, we look at engaging volunteers and cultivating donors as different work. However, these objectives actually employ the same relationship building skills. Allowing individuals to self-select how they connect to your organization allows them to bring all their resources to your organization.

Why is this topic important?
Organizations can overlook the additional resources those already involved with their organization can offer. With the best of intentions, we sometimes make assumptions about what someone is able to do, or how they would like to contribute.

By expanding the conversation, people will engage in the ways that are most meaningful to them, which creates a stronger connection to your organization. Cultivating donors is typically a key objective for many organizations, while volunteer engagement struggles to be recognized as key work worthy of an investment in staff resources. I believe this article shows they are equally important!

Explain your background on this topic. (In other words, what makes you a “volunteer engagement expert?”)
I’ve worked for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for more than 10 years. Previous to that, I volunteered for them.

In my work, I’ve challenged staff to build their personal capacity through volunteer engagement, while creating meaningful opportunities for volunteers to have tangible impact. I’m fortunate to work for an organization where volunteers are key leaders and partner with staff to achieve the important work outlined in our strategic plan.

Initially, I began in volunteer engagement by recruiting volunteers for events. From there I was able to use my skills to help the organization grow, and I haven’t looked back!

What did you learn and/ or struggle with when writing your chapter?
Honestly, this is the first time I’ve written anything for publication, and it was intimidating!  I recruited my colleague Taylor Mallia, who focuses on donor cultivation, to collaborate with me. Together, we were able to discuss our work connecting people to the organization through volunteer engagement and gift cultivation.

My style tends to be a bit on the informal side, and I greatly value the exchange that happens during a discussion. Therefore, this challenged me to formally support my ideas in writing, rather than strictly through dialogue.

What is the one piece of advice you would give volunteer managers to take with them to the future?
Be confident in how much ability your work has to impact the success of your organization. Volunteer engagement isn’t something separate to do, it’s how effective organizations work.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldTo read Kelly’s full chapter, Wholly Engaged: Integrating Volunteer and Donor Programs, order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.




Bay Area: Want to Star in a VolunteerMatch Video?

Star in VolunteerMatch's new videoDo you know a volunteer who fits these three criteria?

  • Volunteers somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area,
  • Has a compelling and/ or heartwarming volunteer story, and
  • Found their volunteer opportunity through VolunteerMatch.

If so, we want to film them!

Julia, our awesomely creative Creative Services Manager, is in the process of creating a 1-2 minute, easily-sharable video. If your volunteer is selected, Julia will come to your nonprofit this May or June to capture their story through interviews and volunteering footage.

If you’re wondering why we’re only looking for San Francisco Bay Area organizations, it’s not because we love the rest of the country any less… we promise! It’s because VolunteerMatch is headquartered in San Francisco, so we’re starting local. But don’t worry! We have plans in store to include the rest of the country soon.

So Bay Area, what do you think? Want your nonprofit to star in a video and help VolunteerMatch? Send us an email.

Hunger Nonprofits: Grow Your Volunteer Program with This Free Tool

Hunger Organization Volunteer Improvement ToolWhat if you could improve your organization’s volunteer program with just a few clicks?

If you’re a hunger-fighting organization, now you can.

We’ve developed a free tool specifically for hunger-fighting organizations to evaluate their volunteer engagement programs.

Why hunger organizations?
This tool was developed as part of a 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.

About the tool.
In this tool, called the Volunteer Program Improvement Tool, you will be taken through a series of statements, and will be asked to select the statements that are true about your volunteer engagement program.

In just a few short minutes, the tool works its magic and generates a custom report just for you. This includes:

  • Where your volunteer program currently stands. Are you volunteer engagement novices, or is your program already running at rock-star level?
  • Specific action steps to improve your volunteer program, based on where you’re program is currently.
  • Lots of additional resources to help with your improvement journey.

Best of all, it’s completely free. Ready to get started? Access the tool today.

Save Time and Build Better Relationships with VolunteerMatch Premium

Celebrate with VolunteerMatch Premium!At VolunteerMatch, we love living out our mission of connecting good people and good causes. And we love that we can do this at no cost to the inspiring people and causes doing amazing work in their communities.

We do this because we believe that everyone should have the chance to make a difference.

However, for organizations that rely heavily on volunteers, we have another option that makes finding new volunteers even easier.

VolunteerMatch Premium lets nonprofits do some pretty cool things with their VolunteerMatch account. Want to craft a personalized greeting VolunteerMatch Premium vs. Basicto potential volunteers when they first connect with you? You can do that. Want to quickly repost that volunteer opportunity from last month that’s still relevant? You can do that. How about exporting a list of the volunteers who have reached out to you? Yep, you can do that too.

That’s just the beginning. Learn more about the various ways we support nonprofits, including our premium service. And if you choose to, head over to your VolunteerMatch account to sign up.

For less than ten dollars a month, your nonprofit can build strong relationships with volunteers from the start, and spend less time managing prospective volunteers. And I’m sure you have many ways to spend a little extra time.