Volunteer Engagement: Smarter Applications Strategies
Part 3: The Volunteer Application
Our last installment dealt with obtaining the right volunteer management software. Having the right software makes so much of a difference for your nonprofit. Not only is your software system supposed to make things easier for you, it should also be user friendly and able to do multiple things. And of course, one of the things your software must to is help you gain volunteers by creating an engaging volunteer application. Beyond simply gaining standard information about volunteers, the volunteer application is another opportunity to make potential volunteers care and want to be part of what you and your nonprofit are doing. So let’s take a look at how to make a better volunteer application.
Volunteer Engagement Strategy #3: Build a Better Volunteer Application
Engagement should be your nonprofit’s priority from the very beginning of the volunteer experience. That means creating an online application that starts your volunteer relationship on the right foot.
When you have accurate, useful data on file from the start, you’ll have a better understanding of who your volunteers are and what they can offer your organization — and what you can offer them.
Of course, any volunteer application should adhere to a standard template so that you can collect the information that’s vital to your volunteer profiles. Make sure you don’t forget to collect the most important details!
In addition to following our checklist, consider these next-level tips for a well-crafted volunteer application:
- Let applicants share their skills, experience, and interests so that you can send them the most relevant (and exciting) opportunities.
- Keep some fields optional so that you have the opportunity to collect as much data as possible without overwhelming applicants.
- Detail the rest of the application process, including any additional screening that the applicants will need to undergo.
- Ask how your applicants heard about your organization to assess your marketing strategy and send a thank-you to any current volunteers who made a referral.
The more data you capture now, the easier it will be to build detailed constituent profiles that allow you to get to know your volunteers as well-rounded individuals and supporters of your nonprofit.
Basic information on a volunteer application form that should be requested includes:
- Contact information, including an email address
- Birth Date and social security number (necessary for background checks or credit checks)
- Emergency contact; relationship of the contact, address and phone #
- Previous work or volunteer experience
- Highest education level reached
- Language(s) spoken
- Description of training or experience that may be pertinent to the volunteer position desired.
- Statement of and description of prior criminal convictions or offenses
- Certifications such as First Aid and CPR with dates of certification and expiration dates.
- Valid driver’s license #
- Skills checklist (computer, tutoring, teaching, clerical skills, phone calling, office management, supervision, etc.)
- Reason for volunteering
- Organizational disclaimers
- Signature of applicant and date of signature
This, of course, is not an exhaustive list. But it is a start.
What to Know: The volunteer application is often the first brush a potential volunteer has with your nonprofit, so make it count by following a strategic template and asking the right questions.
Next week, we will look at what to pay attention to in regards to volunteer preferences.
Want to learn more about how the Giveffect all-in-one software system can help your nonprofit in its fundraising, volunteer management and web hosting efforts? Visit us online at www.giveffect.com.