Tag Archives: Nonprofit training

A Vital Nonprofit Resource: How to Grow and Manage Your Volunteer Base

A Vital Nonprofit Resource: How to Grow and Manage Your Volunteer Base

Within a nonprofit organization there is typically a long list of responsibilities with not as long a list of employees to cover these needs. Therefore, employees typically end up wearing multiple hats. The grants administrator might also be teaching job skills trainings and a project manager might also be working as an event coordinator for a fundraising event. Hours can be long and employees can be stretched thin at times.

For these reasons, and more, are why a volunteer base is critical to ensuring that the community’s needs are met and employees aren’t reaching burnout. Community members have an enormous wealth of skills, experience, and compassion that can be utilized to accomplish any number of tasks or goals critical to the overall function of a nonprofit organization. But how do we get them to volunteer with our organization?

Who Are They and Where Do You Find Them?

The simple answer is anyone. The more specific answer is family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, church members, etc. Most people can be a volunteer. They just have to be asked. So many people are unaware of the needs that most nonprofits have that they might not realize they have a lot to offer other than a monetary donation.

Word of mouth can move mountains in the nonprofit world. Recruit through your contacts, your staff members, and through current volunteers. Encourage everyone to spread the word about volunteer opportunities. Asking for help can be humbling on any level, but when the request benefits a community issue, particularly when aiding vulnerable or marginalized people, the reward of gaining committed volunteers is worth the effort.

Also, make the recruitment of volunteers as part of your marketing strategy. People who devote their time to your organization are a key component to building brand awareness as well the more tangible aspect of getting the work done. Utilizing social media and volunteer websites to recruit volunteers will help disseminate appeals to grow a larger volunteer base with varied skills and time commitments.

Best Practices for Managing Volunteers

Don’t let your volunteer recruitment success falter by not having a plan in place that provides training and designated task assignments. If feasible, hire a volunteer coordinator to handle all aspects of the volunteer component of your nonprofit. This staff member should be fluent regarding all programs and the unmet needs within each and be skilled in filling the gaps with a diverse group of volunteers. A volunteer coordinator should:

  • Offer a variety of volunteer assignments and post each online with detailed descriptions.
  • Try to match volunteers according to their skill sets and their personal requests.
  • Provide training about the mission of the organization as well as for instructions for each task.
  • Communicate expectations and provide a safe environment for questions or problems.
  • Encourage both temporary and long-term needs and assignments.

 

If it’s unfeasible to hire a volunteer coordinator – your nonprofit organization can still make this work. Reach out to KM Clark Consulting Group today to see how we can help find unique ways to fit this into your organization’s structure. We know you’re busy and in the long run, a robust volunteer base will help lessen the work of employees.

How to Say Thank You

Volunteers choose to embrace sometimes difficult and often thankless types of tasks for as many reasons as there are different types of assignments. They choose to devote their precious time to lending their skills as well as their muscle to help nonprofit organizations succeed in their mission.

Volunteers deserve appreciation and recognition just as much as the exemplary employees on your staff. While they are lending their time to share in the responsibilities that make a nonprofit function it is necessary to reward their efforts. Ways to say thank you can include:

  • Feature volunteers in digital marketing platforms like newsletters and on social media.
  • During organization events highlight the contributions made by volunteers and the difference their work makes.
  • Thank volunteers with personalized messages from staff members or the executive director.
  • Share the story of a community member who has been directly helped by the work of a volunteer or group of volunteers.
  • Ask community members to write personal messages to volunteers showing their appreciation.
  • Hold a volunteer recognition event and invite donors as well as community members to share in thanking all of the organization’s volunteers.

 

Now’s the Time!

The best time to start growing your volunteer base is now. Even if you start small, the key is to just start. A strong, diverse volunteer base is an integral part of a nonprofit success. If you’re still unsure where to begin, KM Clark Consulting would love to assist your team in taking those first steps. Reach out to us today to see how we can help.

Train Your Team Members to Live the Nonprofit Organization's Mission

Train Your Team Members to Live the Nonprofit Organization’s Mission

In the nonprofit world, people are the lifeblood of what we do. That’s great, except… it’s hard to keep people’s commitment and motivation high, and this is especially true for those that are volunteering their time.

So what do we do about that?

We have to get people to buy into our nonprofit mission. We have to get them excited about the work we do. We have to make sure that our staff and volunteers are happy about what they are doing and that it is making a real difference. How do we do all of that, though?

My best advice? Train your team members to live the nonprofit organization’s mission. Easier said than done, right? Well, let’s take a look at how our nonprofit consulting team practices what we preach.

Board Members

Your board members should be 100% committed to the nonprofit mission. While it seems obvious that board members should know the mission inside and out, this isn’t always true! Some board members might only have a surface-level understanding of the mission or issue at hand. This is why you should take some time to share the impact of your nonprofit mission through testimonials. It’s also important that all board members have a good understanding of your sustainable nonprofit’s history.

Start turning your new board members into enthusiastic fans of the mission at orientation. Stop waiting for the mission to sell itself! You should do this, even if the “training” consists only of an informal briefing accompanied by handouts. Employees need to be “sold” on the mission too, though in different ways.

Paid Staff

You’ll also want to take a look at your paid staff. How can you ensure that they understand the nonprofit mission and are truly committed to making a difference? Here are a few ways to do that:

Put it in writing! Make sure all staff members have access to the organization’s mission statement, vision statement, and values. Get them written down in one place (like on the company’s public website) so everyone sees it. Also, make sure your paid staff’s job descriptions include a reference to the nonprofit’s mission and vision.

When you conduct performance reviews with your team members, make sure to ask them how they are living the mission. This will give you a better understanding of what they do and don’t understand about the sustainable nonprofit’s mission and how you can better communicate it. If they don’t know, it’s your job to tell them!

Make training a part of your job responsibilities. That is, if you expect employees to be aware and engaged about the mission, make sure they know how to do it. Implement training programs for all employees. It doesn’t have to be long or expensive, just brief and focused on the mission. A presentation in your lunchroom or break room will work great!

Volunteers

We’ve talked about staff members and the board, but what about volunteers? How do you train them to live the mission?

Start with orientation. At orientation, provide your volunteers with an overview of the sustainable nonprofit, its mission, and send them off with a copy of the mission statement and any other important documents. Check-in with your volunteers and ask them how they’re doing at least once per month. Take these opportunities to answer any questions about the mission they might have and/or reinforce their knowledge of the mission and how their work fits into it.

As with paid staff, train your volunteers! Provide them with training opportunities and make sure they know how to live the mission.

All of these efforts will culminate in a united, enthusiastic team dedicated to making a difference and fighting the good fight!

Nonprofit Consulting and Training

Are you looking for a way to improve your organization’s board and workforce?

We know that the people who work at your nonprofit are its most valuable resource. That’s why we want to help you create the best possible board and workforce for your organization. Our nonprofit consulting agency can provide the training and tools to help ensure that everyone knows and lives the mission of your sustainable nonprofit, so they can make an even bigger impact on their communities.

We would love the opportunity to show you how KM Clark Consulting Group sets itself apart from the other nonprofit consultants out there today – our nonprofit consulting experts will provide you with all the tools and resources you need to build a great team. If you want more information about how we can help, please get in touch with us today! We look forward to hearing from you soon.