How to Manage Volunteers Effectively

To run a progressive organization successfully, teams need to manage volunteers effectively — after all, the power of movements comes from the people. Better volunteer management tactics mean better cohesion between the organization and volunteers, higher retention rates, and ultimately, more impact. 


Anyone wondering how to manage volunteers effectively should follow these tips to ensure a productive and fulfilling partnership:


Use the Buddy System

Entering a new volunteer opportunity can feel like the first day of school: some people know others within the organization, while others are starting fresh. To make sure new volunteers are getting acclimated to the social environment of the organization, organizing teams can pair newcomers with a super volunteer. Super volunteers (people who volunteer ten or more hours per week with an organization) can answer questions, provide guidance, and encourage new volunteers as they get more involved.


The buddy system can make the onboarding process a lot easier. Plus, it can also reduce flake rates, as new volunteers may be more willing to attend an event if they know someone who is attending. Volunteering is about human connection; organizations wondering how to manage volunteers should use the buddy system to easily facilitate a bond between new volunteers and an existing volunteer community. 


Simplify the Process

The more complicated something is, the less willing people are to do it. Organizations considering how to manage volunteers should make everything as simple as possible. Luckily, volunteer management software can help with this. There are a number of benefits to using tech to support the operations of an organization, but one of the best reasons to use software tools is that it keeps important information in one centralized location. 


Impactive is one such tool that can help organizations with their volunteer management. Organizations that use Impactive can invite volunteers to use the web or mobile app to check out the latest ways to take action, like peer-to-peer or relational messaging. 


Find Fun Ways to Engage Volunteers

The best way to keep volunteers coming back to an organization is to make volunteering fun. 


Some ways organizations can make volunteering fun are:

  • Offering prizes and incentives, like a pair of movie tickets for the volunteer who participates in the most volunteer events in a given time
  • Starting a chain of donations by making a donation in a volunteer’s name and encouraging them to keep the chain going 
  • Setting a theme for an upcoming event and encouraging people to dress up and bring others


There are always ways to dress the details of an event to make volunteering more enjoyable. Organizations can even designate event coordinators within the volunteer community to take charge of planning events for other volunteers to enjoy! 


Establish Trust and Transparency  

Without volunteers, organizations would not be as impactful as they could be. Transparency should be a key objective in the partnership between volunteers and organizations — organizations should always strive to provide updates on progress, wins, and goals with their volunteer community. Clear volunteer communication is a major part of staying consistent, which goes a long way in establishing the best volunteer experience possible. And of course, organizations should consistently thank them for everything they do! 


In the end, organizations should always remember that the partnership between volunteers and an organization requires thoughtful consideration, creativity, and transparency. With these tips on how to manage volunteers, organizations can create the best experience for those who choose to contribute skills and energy in their free time.


For more tips on how to manage volunteers, read the highlights from our webinar: “Building People Power: Recruiting and Managing Volunteers” or watch the recorded webinar here

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