The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone around the world, including nonprofits and organizations that rely on volunteers to perform critical tasks. There is no doubt that for many volunteer programs, all work has stopped or has been modified to be done remotely. Now some crucial volunteer efforts are needed during this global health crisis to protect the vulnerable. This article has been created to help volunteer managers navigate the difficult task of running volunteer programs to aid in COVID- 19 relief efforts.
Create A Response Plan
Does your organization have the ability to respond to community needs during the health crisis? Will you be able to sustain and commit to performing essential duties in your community? These questions are essential to ask before you begin to stand up your relief efforts. Next, you will need to contact your local government and coordinate with them on what needs to be done to help; you want to help not hinder efforts.
Once you have established what needs to be done in the community, it is time to start establishing your action plan. Here is a simple checklist to help you get started.
- Create well-defined volunteer roles with qualification (including things like a driver license) Consider creating as many virtual volunteer positions as possible to protect your community.
- Create an online application form that reflects all the qualifications required for your various roles.
- Create a shift schedule to allow volunteers to automatically sign up for the shifts they are qualified to work.
To complete the above tasks quickly, we recommend using a volunteer management solution. InitLive is currently offering to donate its volunteer management system to any organization that is aiding in COVID-19 relief. For more information, please click here and fill out the form.
Evaluate and Communicate
Before you start recruiting volunteers to aid in COVID-19 relief, it is essential to communicate all the health risks and precautions your organization is taking. We have complied vital resources for your organization to review and share with your volunteers before commencing any work in the community.
- The Volunteer Checklist – Volunteering During COVID-19
- Coronavirus & Volunteers: Your Guide for Managing Uncertainty
- Nonprofits on the front lines of COVID-19
- COVID-19 Resources From Canadian Nonprofit Umbrella Groups.
Once you have completed all the necessary research to ensure you understand all the health guidelines and procedures for volunteering within the community during the COVID-19 health crisis, its time to share that information with your volunteers. Here are a few communications to send out to your volunteer and the greater community.
- Send an email to all your existing volunteers- Notify your existing database of volunteers with what actions your organization is taking in response to COVID-19 and inform them of any opportunities you may have for them. Make sure to include and reference health resources in your email.
- Update your website and social channels - Update all your online channels to include your message on how your organization is responding to COVID-19 and include any information needed to recruit volunteers to aid in your relief efforts.
- Notify Local Media - Spread the word of your relief efforts in the local media to help gain awareness and support to ensure that those you are trying to help know to contact you for aid.
Keep Your Volunteers Safe
The safety of your volunteers is always the top priority in doing any work; however, it more crucial than ever to equip your volunteers with everything they need to stay safe and healthy during this crisis.
Protect Vulnerable Volunteers- Its well known that seniors are often a large percentage of the nonprofit volunteer workforce. Now it is time to let them rest at home. You should ensure that all volunteers with any underlying health condition stay home, and only those who are healthy and able are working in the community. Offer remote work options for those who are vulnerable but still want to help.
Equip Volunteers With Safety Supplies- You need to be following all health regulations outlined by your local government. That will likely include equipping volunteers with masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. If you can’t secure the necessary safety equipment, the work can’t continue. It is as simple as that. Keep your volunteers and the people they are helping safe at all times.
As your organization works to help those who are vulnerable in the community, it is essential to maintain all health protocols outlined by health officials. If you are currently working on mobilizing volunteers for COVID-19 relief efforts and could benefit from a volunteer management solution, InitLive is presently offering to donate it’s software. For more information, click here and fill out the form. Stay healthy and safe