Running a food bank is no simple task, and it only gets more complicated when managing volunteers in addition to clientele. Here are four volunteer management strategies that can help food banks, and their volunteers, run as smoothly as possible.
Reflect on Your Food Bank's Goals and Values
It can be tempting to make sweeping changes on a whim, but it's critical to take a few steps back and think about what can make the biggest impact on volunteer management. Reflect on what processes and procedures consistently go smoothly and what problems constantly arise. Seek to find the roots of obstacles instead of taking the easy route in the short term by putting temporary bandages on recurring headaches. In the world of food banks, time is a limited resource, but pausing for contemplation now can save a tremendous amount time down the line.
Work to Increase Volunteer Recruitment
Most food banks rely on volunteers to handle daily operations and hands-on labor. Although more is not always better, many organizations could always use extra pairs of hands. Increasing volunteer recruitment can be pivotal, especially when an organization experiences sharp escalations of demand. Encourage current volunteers to invite friends and family members to begin volunteering, and work on starting or improving your nonprofit's social media presence. Ensure that your volunteer recruitment efforts stay current with the changing times, so update them as frequently as possible. Lastly, work to make the volunteer sign-up and initiation process smooth and simple.
Improve Volunteer Engagement and Retention
Recruiting volunteers, although not an easy task, can sometimes be simpler than engagement and retention. Many organizations are seeing increases in new volunteers during uncertain times, but keeping these new volunteers in the upcoming months and years may prove more difficult. Administer extensive and thorough training to avoid new volunteer discouragement, and look into providing incentives for volunteers to keep them engaged. It may seem expensive to hand over material or abstract incentives, but spending a bit on volunteer retention can pay off more than constantly training new volunteers because of consistent turnover. Additionally, nail down clear and concise communication with volunteers to reduce or eliminate confusion that may diminish volunteer engagement and enthusiasm.
To learn more check out our article on - 4 Reasons Why Volunteers Quit: How to Improve Volunteer Retention
Invest in Volunteer Management Software
Volunteer management software, like InitLive's Volunteer Management Solution, can help food banks with volunteer recruitment, communication, scheduling and more. This software makes the volunteer registration process simple, and it can help slash volunteer no-shows by more than 20%. Volunteers will have access to the mobile app, which allows for quick and easy two-way communication with management to greatly reduce communication issues and confusion within the organization. Lastly, this software tracks and reports data, so you can quickly determine areas of improvement and volunteer performance.
Food banks play a critical role in our society, and it can be a complicated process to the manage volunteers within them. Try these four volunteer management strategies to make your food bank operate as effortlessly as possible.