Every successful volunteer program starts with a well-planned volunteer management process. A volunteer management process ensures your organization, event, or nonprofit is operating efficiently, saving time and resources while ensuring volunteer retention. This guide will help you create a volunteer management process that will inspire your volunteer and help your organization achieve its goals.
We have created a 6 step volunteer management process to help you get started.
Creating a strategic plan offers you a long term plan for your volunteer management program providing a clear vision to reference at all stages of the process. Before you get started in planning, you need to establish your organization goals for your volunteer program. Are you looking to increase your volunteer numbers, donations, or are you looking to increase your existing volunteer teams' activity level? Once you have determined your goals, make sure to document them, and include them in your volunteer program strategic plan.
Next up is establishing your needs through a staffing analysis. Your staffing analysis should include what tasks will need to be done and what expertise they require. This should provide you a vision of ideal volunteer personas, offering you a clear vision of what you are looking for during the recruitment phase of the process.
Defining A Leadership Team
Who are the people with the answers? Volunteers are no different than regular staff and require direction and support to get the job done. Creating a leadership team is essential to a successful volunteer management program. Establish your leadership needs by reviewing your staff analysis and considering what support those tasks will require. Volunteer coordinator, shift supervisors, and team leads will ensure that your volunteers are competent and confident.
This stage is all about recruiting the right people for the roles. Using your staff analysis, it's time to start defining your role requirement. These requirements need to detail; they should include the following.
- Role Titles - Use a descriptive, self-explanatory title
- Description - A general description that explains what the role is on a high level
- Key Responsibilities - A list of primary duties and responsibilities
- Skill qualifications- A list of skill requirements
- Certification - A list of certification, background checks or other requirements
Once you created your roles, you can now build out your registration form with skill and certification base questions.
Spreading The Word
Once you have established which roles you need and have created a registration form, its time started recruiting.
- Invite your current volunteer list first- If you already have a list of volunteers who have worked at previous events you've organized, make them feel appreciated by giving them exclusive access to the positions you have available.
- Share your recruitment link.- Use social media, your website, email, and direct mailers. Encourage your previous volunteers to share the link with their friends and family as well.
- Launch a prominent social media campaign- Besides making your recruitment link available through social media, you'll want to launch a formal campaign using these channels. It may even be a good idea to bring one or more of your previous volunteers on board early to help coordinate the social media.
Now that you have a team, it's time to start scheduling them. There are so many factors that go into scheduling volunteers, so using a volunteer scheduling tool like InitLive can help you build your shifts and roster your volunteers efficiently. Here is a scheduling checklist to help with this process:
- Establish your locations - Where are the volunteers working? It's at the information tent, front gate, or first aid station.
- Determine Your Shift Times - Determine when you need people and the length of your shifts based on the activities a volunteer is performing. For example, a physically demanding job should have shorter shifts. Make sure to add some buffer time between changes to cover any late arrivals.
- Determine the Roles Need- What roles are required to get the job done. Do you need a driver and a 4 Waste Management people for a cleanup shift? Each shift will have its staff requirements based on how busy it will.
- Roster Your Team - Once you have created, you shift its time to start rostering staff. You can either allow staff to pick their shift or assign shifts based on skills and availability.
Equipping your volunteers with the tools and training they need to do a good job is essential to your success. Whether it is a quick online course, a tool user guide, or in-person training, it's all worth the investment. Investing in volunteer training not only ensures they can complete their task but also helps retain volunteer overtime. Here a few things to keep in mind when training your volunteers:
- Accessible - Training should be accessible for everyone, not everyone can make it in-person meeting. Consider offering online courses or live streaming in-class training for those how can't make it to the training location. The more options are, the better.
- Be concise - Training should be digestible; you don't want to waste people's time. Stick to simple lessons and brief communications.
- Set expectations - You will need to communicate expectations to all your volunteers; this includes dress codes, codes of conduct, and the chain of command.
- Use a volunteer management tool to share relevant documents - A single standardize point of truth for a volunteer at this stage is critical. Consider investing in a mobile app that offers volunteer access to all documentation, shift information, and communications.
You have planned everything now its time to start getting things done. At this stage, its time to think about facilitating work and delegating management to your leadership team. Your team supervisors are there to help your volunteer excel. Here a few volunteer management tips to ensure everything runs smoothly.
- Check-In Staff - Ensure your supervisors are checking-in volunteers as they arrive and leave their shift. This will allow you to manage no-show and late staff during the event and review volunteer performance later.
- Communicate - Keep your teams informed throughout the day as things change. Communicating through your mobile app to individuals or teams will ensure that they can respond quickly to changes in circumstances.
- Support - Ensure you have an area for your staff to take a break away from everything and offer water and snack to keep them going.
- Appreciation- When it comes to volunteer retention, appreciation is the golden ticket. Whether it is a simple thank you like your volunteer leave, a small gift, or a more significant statement of gratitude, it all makes a difference to your volunteers.
The final stage in the process to evaluate and optimize your existing process to get even better results next time. When you understand where your volunteers are coming from, how they engaged, and how efficiently they used your event communication tool, you can better tailor your marketing efforts, efficiencies, and protocol to put on the best event possible.
Pull reports from your volunteer management tool and send volunteer surveys to evaluate your performance on the following areas:
- Volunteer attendance
- Total Hours Worked
- Volunteer Performance
- Volunteer Experience
At this stage, once you have completed your evaluation and have documented your recommendations for improvements for the next event or initiative, the volunteer management process is complete. For even more information about the volunteer management process, we recommend that you download the following e-book.