All organizations face the challenge of scarce resources. This is especially true of non-profit organizations, which often struggle to find adequate time, money & people to fulfill their mission. Limited funding encourages non-profits to strategically use volunteers to support the organization. Strategically is the key word. All personnel working in your organization must be aimed at achieving the mission, whether they are compensated monetarily or not. This requires careful thought & planning around volunteer recruitment, management &, if need be, separation.
When volunteers are recruited & managed efficiently they are invaluable. These highly motivated individuals are willing to donate their time in order to make a difference. According to the book Nonprofit Management 101, volunteers have 6 key motivations.
1. To help others
2. To be involved in their community
3. To contribute to a cause
4. To develop new skills and have new experiences
5. To use their skills in a productive way
6. To stay fit
Understanding what motivates volunteers is essential to the recruitment process. It's also essential to understand why the organization is seeking volunteers. What needs are present that can be filled with volunteer help? Taking a deep look at this question will assist in identification of specific areas for recruitment. It is a good idea to then describe the need in detail with a volunteer job description. This not only clarifies the expectations of the role to the potential volunteer but also guides the organization in finding an adequate match.
After the internal analysis of the organization's need has been completed & detailed, it's time to start searching for the right volunteers. Organizations that provide services to families/individuals have access to a large pool of volunteers. These individuals already have a personal investment in the organization, especially if they pay dues to be a part of it. Recruiting volunteers from a membership base is a good place to start. Advertise volunteer positions in newsletters, on the organization's website, on social media, & by word of mouth. Remember the motivations of why people volunteer and make the advertisement resonate with those desires. High schools & colleges are also good places to search for volunteers as many students need to fill required hours. In addition, there are many websites that specialize in connecting volunteers with organizations, such as www.volunteermatch.org, & www.volunteeringinamerica.gov .
After finding people willing to dedicate their time to the organization, make sure you're matching their interest and skills with corresponding opportunities. This will give you a better chance of engaging & motivating them to support the organization's mission for a long period of time.
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