From our work here at VolunteerMatch, we know that organizations working to end hunger have their own unique challenges to deal with when it comes to recruiting and managing volunteers.
Many hunger-related organizations work with large numbers of volunteers at once on big projects, some of whom will only volunteer once. This makes tracking difficult in terms of liability as well as retention. It’s also a challenge making sure there’s the right amount of work, for such large groups, and the right kind of work (i.e. a group of kids or sr. citizens won’t be able to do as much heavy lifting as a corporate group might).
Additionally, volunteering for hunger-related organizations becomes especially popular during specific seasons, such as the holidays. Often there are too many volunteers during these times, and not enough during the rest of the year.
Finally, while skilled volunteering is becoming ever more relevant and important in the nonprofit sector, it’s a challenge for hunger-related organizations to develop skilled volunteer programs in a culture in which unskilled, single days of service are more the norm.
We feel you, hunger nonprofits. That’s why, in partnership with the Walmart Foundation, and as part of the Fighting Hunger Together initiative, we’re offering special free webinar trainings just for organizations working to end hunger. These trainings will provide you with resources and knowledge to recruit, manage and retain volunteers to help you fight hunger. Below are upcoming dates and times:
>Make the Most of Your VolunteerMatch Account
Through the Fighting Hunger Together initiative, hunger-related organizations get free access to VolunteerMatch’s premium tools, as well as specialized training and resources to engage volunteers. Learn more about this initiative and find out how to set up your VolunteerMatch account to find the volunteers you need. Made possible through funding from the Walmart Foundation.
>Create Compelling Opportunities on VolunteerMatch
Using common volunteer opportunities from hunger relief organizations we’ll discuss best practices for creating listings on VolunteerMatch that will appeal to the volunteers you’re looking for to run your programs. We’ll look at before and after listings, and we’ll discuss how to use our Premium Account tools to pre-screen and get to know prospective volunteers before you talk to them. Sample descriptions, custom questions, and useful examples will be provided.
So many volunteer managers at hunger relief organizations depend on groups of volunteers to meet the needs of their programs. Different types of groups can come with their own challenges. We’ll discuss ideas for working with corporate groups, youth groups, and other groups using common types of opportunities at hunger relief organizations. Effective practices for engagement, ideas for diversifying the work and commitment level of volunteer groups, the importance of creating opportunities with measurable impacts, and communicating those impacts will be discussed.
>Build a Strong Foundation: Create and Evaluate Your Volunteer Program Documents
Building on the introductory information presented in The Basics of Volunteer Management we’ll spend more time discussing the key program documents you need to effectively recruit and engage volunteers. Applications, waivers, position descriptions and handbooks – when do you need them, when should you update them, and how do you use them to run a more successful program? We’ll also help you engage volunteers to help you evaluate these documents and keep them up to date. Sample documents and a plan for engaging volunteers will be provided.
>The Basics of Volunteer Management: Getting Starting
Modeled on our popular webinar “The New Volunteer Manager’s Toolkit,” we’ll discuss all of the basic program components from volunteer handbooks to creating a comprehensive volunteer retention plan popular in volunteer engagement, but with a focus on the needs of hunger relief organizations. This webinar was originally designed for new volunteer managers, but even seasoned professionals can learn something new. Sample documents and a program evaluation guide will be provided.
Shari led Online Marketing and Communications at VolunteerMatch from 2010-2015. After working with nonprofits for 9 years, she moved over to the corporate sector and is now leading Inbound Marketing for a tech company in San Francisco.