October Webinar Preview: Day-to-Day Recruitment Basics

Learn something new. Attend a free webinar.

Amid craziness that characterizes a typical work day for most of us, sometimes we forget to focus on the most basic aspects of recruiting volunteers: creating positions, screening, and connecting on a personal level. This month the VolunteerMatch Learning Center offers free webinars that will refresh and energize you to recruit the best volunteers for your organization.

Check them out today!

The New Volunteer Manager’s Toolkit

This webinar will walk you through the three primary Rs – recruitment, retention and recognition. We’ll discuss the most popular program components such as interviews, orientations, volunteer handbooks, and more. And, we’ll talk about the importance of managing risk for your program and your organization. All attendees will receive a packet with examples of program documents and program assessment checklists to help you evaluate your existing program.

Writing Accurate and Useful Volunteer Position Descriptions

This webinar will start with the basics of what should be included in a position description and will help you create or update position descriptions for all of your volunteer opportunities. Once those position descriptions are created – use them! Learn how accurate and up-to-date position descriptions can help you recruit and train volunteers, and how they can help with retention and the development of leadership positions within your volunteer engagement program.

Successful Volunteer Interview Strategies

This webinar introduces a variety of question types used in volunteer interviews and offers strategies for honing your interview skills. Materials will be provided to help you implement this process in your organization, as well as a training syllabus so you can learn how to recruit and train a volunteer staff to assist with prospective volunteer interviews.

Bonus Nonprofit Insights Webinar:

The Overhead Myth: What It Is, Why It Matters…and What Now?

You may not know it by name, but most nonprofit organizations have fallen victim to the Overhead Myth, a misconception that spending money on administrative and fundraising costs is a bad thing. It’s been confusing donors for too long about what matters when judging a nonprofit, and it is actively harming our ability to solve the world’s problems.

This month VolunteerMatch will host a special joint edition of the Nonprofit Insights and Best Practice Network webinar series as we welcome Jacob Harold of Guidestar and Ann Goggins Gregory of the Bridgespan Group, in conversation with Greg Baldwin of VolunteerMatch. They will discuss the cultural values and past behavior of nonprofits, businesses and funders that have led to the current problem, and answer the critical question of “What now?”

Check out more free webinar topics in the VolunteerMatch Learning Center.

How to Find – and Keep – Great Volunteers

Guest post by Manuel Eriksen

Tips for finding and keeping great volunteers for your organization

Almost all nonprofits need volunteers, and for many reasons. The right volunteer can encourage and inspire others to join the cause and contribute their time and talents. Volunteers help a nonprofit thrive, and finding and keeping them takes dedication and hard work.

Finding Volunteers

Many people want to volunteer but don’t have the time to do so. The key is finding the people who are willing, and most importantly, able to commit their time and service to the organization. To find the best volunteers, you have to know where to look.

Of course, VolunteerMatch is a quick, easy and free way to reach many volunteers that fit your organization’s needs. Posting a volunteer opportunity takes about 5 minutes, and will be recommended to volunteers who match with the skills and cause areas you indicate.

With pastors and other community leaders such as Ed Young reminding people not to wait to be asked to volunteer, more people are looking to social networks as another good way to find volunteer opportunities. Use social media and bulletin boards to let people know about your organization and what it does. Encourage them to volunteer in whatever capacity they can offer.

Well-known organizations often have a volunteer drive once a year to actively campaign for future supporters. This eliminates the need to continually seek help, but it limits your ability to control who follows through with the commitment.

Keeping Volunteers

Once a person has shown an interest in volunteering, the key is to keep them active. Six ways to keep great volunteers working and coming back year after year are:

  1. Be mindful of their time. They may only be able to work a few hours at a time due to family or work commitments.
  2. Don’t expect more than they can offer. People have limitations, both financially and physically. If they know they can’t do a specific job, respect their limits and allow them to perform tasks they are comfortable with.
  3. Show appreciation. Make sure everyone who volunteers knows how much you appreciate their service. They choose to be there.
  4. Show them their work has purpose. Show them why they are needed.
  5. Introduce volunteers to the leaders of the organization. This allows the leaders to meet those who support their cause and allows the volunteers to meet those responsible for what they are doing.
  6. Showcase their talents. If you have a volunteer who continually goes above and beyond what is expected, recognize his or her commitment within the organization and publicly.

Volunteers are often the life force of an organization. Finding and keeping good volunteers will help keep your organization productive and benefiting those who rely on it.

Manuel Eriksen is a business writer who specializes in marketing and public relations. He loves to volunteer in his spare time and enjoys looking for new ways to actively engage in the community.

Exploring Our Impact: Top 10 Causes to Help You Recruit Top Volunteers

With the release this summer of the 2012 VolunteerMatch Impact Report, we’re taking a closer look at some of the most important outcomes of our work in 2012. Read the whole series here.

How does VolunteerMatch do it? How do we connect nonprofits with the exact volunteers you need in such a great, well, match?

Here’s our secret: We focus on what you really need, and what the volunteers really care about. When you indicate a specific “cause” or “interest area” for your volunteer listing, it can then be matched to the causes indicated by an individual on his or her Volunteer Profile.

The Popular Crowd

In the recently released 2012 VolunteerMatch Impact Report we revealed the Top 10 Causes on VolunteerMatch – these are the areas that have the most volunteer listings.

The top 10 most popular causes for volunteer listings on VolunteerMatch.

  1. Community
  2. Children & Youth
  3. Education & Literacy
  4. Health & Medicine
  5. Senior
  6. Environment
  7. Arts & Culture
  8. Women
  9. Homeless & Housing
  10. Sports & Recreation

This list looks a whole lot like last year’s list. New faces include Environment in the #5 spot, and Sports & Recreation edging its way in at #10. These newcomers bumped out Advocacy & Human Rights and Disabled.

Considering the fact that there are currently over 80,000 opportunities in the VolunteerMatch network, there’s plenty of room for all 29 cause categories, and many more.

Still, kudos to environmental nonprofits and sports & recreation organizations for some stellar volunteer recruiting. Maybe all of these listings are evidence of a renewed zeal for the outdoors!

Make sure your organization’s volunteer opportunities have causes attached, so you can connect with the best volunteers for your work!

5 Awesome But Overlooked VolunteerMatch Resources

Don't forget about these 5 great but often overlooked resources that VolunteerMatch provides for nonprofits for volunteer engagement.Sure, VolunteerMatch helps hundreds of thousands of organizations find the volunteers they need for free each day. Sure, we make over a hundred connections between volunteers and nonprofits per hour. But this isn’t all we do.

To make sure your volunteer engagement efforts are successful, long-lasting, and make a big difference in your work, we also provide a bunch of extra tools and resources to help you engage, manage, appreciate and retain your volunteers. Often in the crazy hoopla that is volunteer engagement, these added “bonus” services are overlooked.

Check out these 5 awesome VolunteerMatch resources, and don’t forget they’re here next time you’re looking for some extra help!

Community Leader Premium Service

The added features in this upgraded nonprofit account include custom greetings and questions, document sending, and other time savers. The entire package is only about $9 per month, so if you’re looking to put some extra oomph behind your volunteer engagement, this is a great option.

VolunteerMatch Learning Center

This is your hub for learning all about volunteer engagement. Sign up for dozens of free webinars on all sorts of practical topics, download research and insights reports, watch tutorials on how best to use VolunteerMatch, and much, much more.

Social Sharing Options

Whenever you post a volunteer opportunity on VolunteerMatch, you have the ability to easily share it with your social networks – with one click. We’ve even pre-written the messages for you. So make sure your organization’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn crowds know that there’s a new way for them to get involved – and who knows, you might just connect with someone who’s never even heard of you!

Nonprofit and Volunteer Story Archives

We love hearing about how nonprofits and volunteers are working together to make the world a better place. In fact, we love it so much, we publish special articles spotlighting VolunteerMatch nonprofits and volunteers. Browse through past stories to find inspiration for you and your volunteers, and share your own story with us.

Opportunity Alerts

Yes, technically this is a feature for volunteers, not nonprofits. However, these personalized email alerts delivered directly to you can be a great way to learn how other organizations are recruiting volunteers using VolunteerMatch, and could inspire you to step up your engagement.

Besides, you might find your perfect match to get out of the office and do some volunteering yourself! The email alerts are customized based on the skills and cause areas you specify in your Volunteer Profile. To access, sign in to VolunteerMatch.org and click on “Your Profile” in the “Volunteers” section of the site.

Want to get more tips for engaging great volunteers sent to you each month? Sign up for our Nonprofit Newsletter by filling out the form in the sidebar at right (we won’t use this info for anything except sending you volunteer engagement-related stuff).

September Webinar Preview: Be Strategic, Be Measured, and Get Your Colleagues to Help You Out

Learn something new. Attend a free webinar.

The kids are back in school, and now you have the opportunity to gain some new knowledge, as well – about volunteer engagement, that is. This month the VolunteerMatch Learning Center offers free webinars on strategically assessing your program, growing support and engagement, and getting your colleagues involved.

Check them out today!


Measuring Success: How to Strategically Assess Your Program

Your volunteer engagement program can be measured by more than just the hours a volunteer gives your organization. What other kinds of information should you keep track of, and how do you know if you’re doing a good job with your volunteer engagement program? This webinar will help you think through both the quantitative and qualitative information you can use to evaluate your program.

Fighting Hunger Together:  Recruiting and Managing Seasonal Volunteers

Managing and recruiting seasonal volunteers is always a challenge, particularly when volunteer interest can be skewed towards certain times of the year. While holiday volunteers can be a great asset to your organization, how do you recruit volunteers for the rest of the year? We’ll discuss some strategies for maintaining a consistent volunteer base, and conveying the importance of year-round volunteers to your seasonal volunteer team. Made possible through funding from the Walmart Foundation.

Developing a Strategic Plan for Volunteer Engagement

Are you engaging volunteers with an eye to the future? Do you know what your volunteer program should look like in 3 or 5 years? Join us as we talk about the fundamentals for creating a strategic plan for volunteer engagement for your organization. This webinar will include components that should be included as well as ideas for working with organization leaders to include strategic goals for volunteer engagement in your organization’s overall strategic plan.

Fighting Hunger Together: Creating More Volunteer Engagement

How long do volunteers usually stay with your program? Do you struggle with keeping them interested, involved and engaged? This webinar will help you think about new strategies and help you evolve your program to include new roles and responsibilities for volunteers, pathways for more involvement and leadership positions in your program, how recognition plays a role in retention, and the importance of including continuing education and professional development to keep your volunteers engaged. Tools to help you evaluate your program and implement new ideas will be provided.

Build Staff Buy-In for Volunteer Engagement

Is your organization open to engaging volunteers in new ways? Often one of the biggest challenges to a new model of volunteer engagement is the resistance of paid staff. Often attitudes and fears of our co-workers prevent us from expanding the work that volunteers do. But, if you’ve never worked with volunteers before, it can be scary. In this webinar we’ll discuss strategies for working with paid staff to engage volunteers. We’ll cover what you can do to alleviate some of those fears, strategies for working within a Union environment, and how you can train and support your coworkers as they become responsible for managing volunteers.

Check out more free webinar topics in the VolunteerMatch Learning Center.