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Best Practices for Nonprofit Volunteer Management

Apr 1, 2019

Sometimes the most valuable donation a not-for-profit organization receives is the gift of one’s time. Often people choose to volunteer their time, talents, and knowledge for the benefit of their favorite charity in lieu of a monetary donation. In the current economy, not only can volunteerism help a nonprofit make up for losses in charitable giving, but it can also help out-of-work individuals reconnect and network. One of the most important factors for nonprofit volunteer management success is having a clear leader of these volunteers.

Finding the Right Volunteers

The first step in finding the right volunteers is to understand which character traits and skills are vital to the nonprofit organization. Once those qualities are identified, they can be used in the interview process for potential volunteers. Some common traits to look for include:

  • Reliability
  • Respect for nonprofit resources
  • Shared values with the nonprofit’s mission
  • Innovative  problem-solving skills
  • Possesses the knowledge and skill set for a specific need of the nonprofit

Nonprofit Volunteer Management

Now that you’ve found the right volunteers, it’s important to effectively manage them. Enter the paid staff volunteer coordinator. By creating a paid position with benefits, a not-for-profit makes a powerful statement about the importance of their volunteer program. A volunteer coordinator must be resourceful and organized. He or she must deal with many unexpected last-minute problems such as changes in volunteers’ schedules and day-to-day operational demands. Maintaining relationships with other key personnel within the organization is also vital, as volunteers will often help with event details and other projects that intersect various departments.

Finally, for every would-be volunteer who meets the volunteer coordinator, there may be hundreds of people who hear about the experience as the would-be volunteer discusses it through social media, at work, and in the community. The bottom line is that the volunteer coordinator is often the first impression of a nonprofit, so it’s important that the individual exemplifies the organization’s goals and values while both dealing with volunteers and the public at various events.

Drafting Formal Policies and Procedures

Like any business, not-for-profit organizations and their volunteers have liability exposure. Additionally, they must adhere to certain regulatory standards and act in a way that benefits their organization and its underlying mission. With a potentially complicated network of paid staff members and occasional volunteers, it’s extremely important to establish formal policies-and-procedures for all paid and volunteer staff to follow.

The goal of the policies and procedures should be to minimize liabilities, create consistent rules, develop a system of oversight for various operations areas, and manage resources effectively.

We Volunteer

Carr, Riggs & Ingram’s not-for-profit CPAs can help your organization draft the policies and procedures that best fit your organization’s mission. We can also help you determine which traits to look for in volunteers, and provide guidance for the creation of volunteer oversight within your organization. The bottom line is that we can help ensure that you’re swimming in the right direction.

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