by Marie Palacios

Last week we delved into tips for “Keeping Your Best Volunteers Coming Back”.

Now it is time to get down to the nitty and gritty components of effective volunteer management systems. Before you get started, it is important to identify WHO in your organization will spearhead the process and who will responsible for managing volunteers on a regular basis. Depending on your organization’s current capacity your “Volunteer Management Coordinator” might be a paid staff position or a volunteer-led initiative under the supervision of the board and/or staff.

Consider the following components as you begin developing and implementing your VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AND PACKETS:

a. Overview of the Organization – A colorful 1-page summary with photos of your mission in action goes a long way!

b. Volunteer Opportunities – Outline specific programs and times that volunteers are needed as well as the qualifications required to fulfill each of those tasks.

c. Application and Volunteer Expectations – These forms should be easily accessible at events, in the office, and online so volunteers can express their interest and availability.

d. Screening and Orientation – Different programs or projects might require different levels of screening. If you are a small organization you might not have the resources to complete full criminal background checks on everyone, so you might determine that any volunteer “who works directly with children/clients/vulnerable populations” will be required to complete a full criminal background check while others might only complete a local background or professional/personal reference check.

e. Waivers of Liability – It’s always a great idea to have a local attorney to review your waivers to ensure that your organization is free from potential liabilities related to volunteer participation in events, accidents in route to and from events, loss or damage of property, and more!

f. Commitment/Engagement Forms – Whether you have a volunteer handbook, operating principals, or other codes of conduct you expect volunteers to abide by, it is important that they read each official form and sign it to indicate their awareness of and commitment to your organization’s operating procedures and core values.

g. Tracking and Reporting Processes – It is important to track volunteer hours for many reasons so be sure to establish easy systems so that volunteers can report their service time! For more information on volunteer, tracking is key click [here https://fundingforgood.org/top-5-reasons-you-should-be-tracking-volunteer-hours/

h. Acknowledgment and Recognition – Expressing volunteer appreciation is key to retaining amazing volunteers, so it is important to outline appropriate and budget-friendly ways to do just that! Consider handwritten birthday, holiday, and thank you cards, special invitations, an acknowledgment in your newsletter, volunteer of the month/year programs, a photo collage of your volunteer in action, and other tokens of appreciation.

Best of luck as you continue to grow for good.