Giving Back Better: 5 tips for building an effective volunteering program - Church Resources

Giving Back Better: 5 tips for building an effective volunteering program

18/01/2017
Giving Back Better: 5 tips for building an effective volunteering program

When it comes to NFP organisations, volunteers can truly serve as the backbone of your business. Not only does a team of volunteers ease the burden on your full-time staff, but it also provides a channel for people to get involved in good causes and give back to their communities – something that can ultimately bring your business long-term success.

However, in order for an initiative like this to be successful, it’s vital that it’s appropriately thought out and planned for – after all, you are asking for people’s valuable time, and as such, it’s important that the most is made of it.

Programmes like this can go awry when volunteers are sought after in a rush, following the realisation of a sudden need to get many more hands on deck. Problems arise due to time constraints and lack of planning, but with a solid foundation, starting a volunteer program can actually be a fun and rewarding process.

Remember that people volunteer their time because they truly care about an issue and want to get together with like-minded individuals to do meaningful work within their communities. By setting out a clear plan and guiding your volunteers to make a meaningful impact, you’ll be sure to retain your volunteer team and achieve your goals.

Here are 5 tips for planning a successful volunteer program:

Take volunteer recruitment seriously

It’s true that NFP businesses are not always able to offer volunteers much in the way of financial compensation, but that doesn’t mean you should be scraping the bottom of the bargain bin. Instead, create engaging recruitment drives that encourage participation within your community. Ask your friends, peers and partners for referrals, and assess each volunteer as you would a full-time employee.

Offer various levels of involvement

When it comes to signing up as a volunteer, time is definitely one of the biggest deal makers or breakers – after all, time is money. Instead of ruling out those who are not able to commit to serving 8 hours a day, create various volunteer programme tiers that come with different levels of involvement. By doing this, you’re able to show your volunteers that you value their time, whilst at the same time accommodating their various schedules.

Offer training and support

As in any business, it is important to equip your team with the tools, knowledge and skills needed to perform a job. Orientation provides the perfect platform to define expectations and agree on team goals. By offering adequate training and support, you can ensure that you’re working with a capable team who are prepared to take on any challenge.

Evaluate your team

To ensure that your volunteers are performing at their very best, it’s important to set goals, track performance and monitor interaction within the team. Remember to maintain an open line of communication, so that team members are able to voice their concerns and to reduce the chance of individuals missing the mark.

Offer recognition

Incentive budgets may be a little tight, but a word of thanks goes a long way. Encourage your team and boost morale by speaking positively and giving praise where it’s due. Recognition is a sure-fire way to retain your volunteers, so rather look at affordable ways to say thanks for a job well done than spend time and effort on regular hunts for new recruits.

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