Volunteer Programming Tips
Build a volunteer program because...
- You want to engage the community in your work
- You have limited funding
- You want more people to know about your organization
- You need to fill specific skill gaps in your organization
- You need an outside perspective
- You only have a few full time staff members
There are many reasons why your organization should have a strong volunteer program, here are some helpful starting points on how to make your organization’s volunteer program most successful.
Engage Volunteers Effectively
- Be strategic in placing your volunteers in skill-specific positions, not just as add-ons for work your staff doesn’t want to do. Value each individual volunteer’s unique skill set.
- Balance the volunteer’s expectations and your expectations for the volunteer program.
- Use your talented volunteers to address real needs in the community your organization serves.
Monitor and Assess Your Volunteer Program
- Record volunteer impact metrics, not just volunteer hours or other specific outcomes, but also the story of why volunteers are vital to the community your organization serves. Use this site to keep track of your volunteers and their hours.
- Obtain feedback from volunteers through informal chats, emails, or surveys.
- Make any needed changes to the program, and give volunteers feedback on their performance.
Thank Your Volunteers
- Convey to your volunteers, organization, and community how vital your volunteer program is to addressing community needs.
- Tell your volunteers how vital they are to the success of your programs.
- Offer to give recommendations for outstanding volunteers. Also, recommend them to us to be highlighted on our site as a Do Gooder.
Invest in Volunteer Management
- Make volunteers central to your organization’s work.
- Invest in volunteer outreach, volunteer training, and volunteer program development.
- Seek out grants to support your volunteer management system and/or get a volunteer to be your volunteer coordinator.
Also, check out these volunteer management resources:
- Reimagining Service – Take a short quiz to assess your organization’s use of volunteers, and learn about volunteerism’s vital role in deepening nonprofit success.
- Energize Inc. – Find current volunteer management news from this international training, consulting and publishing firm specializing in volunteerism.
- New York Association for Volunteer Administration – A NYC membership association for volunteer management professionals.
Tips for a Successful Corporate Volunteer Experience:
Research the Organization
Confirm that the organization has capacity for large corporate groups. Keep in mind that many organizations require donations for large volunteer groups.
Check if you need to provide any supplies, food, or financial support for these items. Do not expect the organization to provide your group with lunch or gardening gloves, for example. Also, when possible, it is helpful to provide an organization with multiple volunteer days/time options.
Additional Volunteer Resources:
If you are unable to get all the volunteers your organization needs from our site and your own volunteer outreach activities, then check out the following additional volunteer resources.
- NYC Civic Corps - Apply for two or more AmeriCorps members to build volunteer capacity at your organization over a 10 month period. This website was created by two NYC Civic Corps members placed at the Brooklyn Community Foundation.
- The Community Corps- Obtain NPower volunteers for IT services.
Also, consider contacting community groups and signing up with NYC Service, NYCares, or Idealist to get connected with more volunteers.