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Volunteer Engagement: Smarter Opportunity Strategies

Part 5: Variety in Opportunities for Volunteers

Your volunteers need variety. They need a diverse set of options on how to best serve your organization. This is important in shoring up your current volunteer base, as well as in expanding it. Nonprofit organizations must ensure that the opportunities they have are wide-ranging, engaging, and substantial. And it starts with knowing what your organization and what its needs are. From there, you can create volunteer opportunities that are inclusive and will appeal to a wide range of people who want to help. Let’s dive more into what to do to offer a wide array of volunteer opportunities and activities.

Volunteer Engagement Strategy #5: Offer a Variety of Volunteer Opportunities

Providing a diverse array of volunteer opportunities is truly a win-win scenario: your volunteers get to contribute to a cause they care about in a way that’s convenient (and fun) for them, and your nonprofit gets to receive assistance in different areas of your organization.

The most engaging volunteer programs offer a plethora of opportunities that allow as many volunteers as possible to lend a hand.

You may be thinking, “But my nonprofit just doesn’t have that many available options for volunteers.” We’ll let you in on a secret — nonprofits with that mentality are missing out on a wealth of virtually free resources and are selling their supporters short at the same time! (Talk about a lose-lose scenario.)

For that reason, your nonprofit should keep these points in mind when putting together all the opportunities you can think of:

  • Assess your organization’s needs. You might think volunteers only come in handy when you’re organizing community service or hosting a fundraising event, but that’s not the case! Volunteers can offer administrative support, skilled labor (think: professional pro bono services, from legal work to financial advice), and much more!
  • Offer multiple shift times for each role. Whether you’re looking for stock assistance at your thrift store or dog walkers at your shelter, make sure you’re offering a variety of time slots so that you can cater to your supporters’ schedules. Depending on the role, we suggest 3-4 hour shifts — one for the morning and one for the afternoon.
  • Write strategic job descriptions. Like all internet users, your prospects are likely just going to scan your volunteer job descriptions. To make them as impactful as possible, use descriptive language and keywords that will catch a reader’s eye. Make sure to give each position a title, too, so that readers can get the gist of the role in just a glance.

Take a look at this example of how Habitat for Humanity uses Giveffect’s volunteer scheduling tool to offer shift opportunities. Check out their compelling description, too.

Offering engaging volunteer opportunities don’t just help you build relationships with volunteers — it can also be a valuable way to steward donors as well!

For example, you can offer VIP volunteer opportunities for your major donors, such as volunteering their professional expertise or cutting a ribbon on the new building your capital campaign funded.

Of course, in order to know whom to target for these special opportunities, you’ll need to make sure your volunteer strategy is connected to your fundraising efforts and larger nonprofit strategy. (Just another example of how you can use integrated volunteer management software to your advantage!)

What to Know: The more volunteer options you provide, the more likely your supporters are to find a time and job that works for them. That means more volunteers — and more importantly, happier volunteers — from the start!

Next week, we will focus on how to engage local businesses into your volunteer engagement efforts.

Want to learn more about how the Giveffect all-in-one software system can help your nonprofit in its fundraising and reconciliation efforts? Visit us online at www.giveffect.com.

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