Tip of the Week December 03, 2018

Go to the Schedule tab of an Assignment from the Schedule page.

There are different ways to view the schedule in Volgistics to match the rendering that fits your needs the best. For example, if you want to view the schedule for your entire organization, you can select Schedule from the menu. Or, if you want to view the schedule for one particular Site, Place or Assignment, you can select Assignments from the menu, click on the name of the Site, Place or Assignment, and then select the Schedule tab. You can even view the schedule for just a particular volunteer or Coordinator by clicking on the Schedule tab in that volunteer’s or Coordinator’s record.

If you are viewing the daily view of the entire schedule after you select Schedule from the menu, there may be times when want to go directly to the schedule for a particular Assignment. For instance, you may need to add an additional opening to an Assignment. Volgistics makes this easy to do by making the Assignment names clickable links. Just place your cursor over the Assignment’s name and select it. You’ll be taken directly to the Schedule tab of the Assignment.

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Tip of the Week November 26, 2018

Use floating subtotals for recording service in a specific period of time.

In addition to regular service hour entries, Volgistics automatically keeps a total for month-to-date (MTD), fiscal year-to-date (YTD), and life hours for volunteers. There are also two floating subtotal fields that you can use to keep track of service performed during time periods that you select. The floating subtotal figures are available in reports and also appear in the Statistics box on the Core tab of the volunteer record.

These fields can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, if your organization operates on a fiscal year the YTD total will record all service performed so far in the current fiscal year. You could also setup floating subtotal fields to track service hours performed in the previous two fiscal years. Or if your organization has a special event where your volunteer service peaks, but also has volunteers that serve during other times of the year, you could use the floating subtotal fields to track how much service is performed between the dates of your event.

Help topic 2260 explains more about how to setup floating subtotals in your account.

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New Multi-Site Level Access Feature

Volgistics’ Site Level Access feature gives the ability to limit a System Operator to one Site in your account. Now with Multi-Site Level Access you can limit an operator to a pool of up to 10 Sites so they can switch their view between the Sites.

The Volgistics team is excited to announce that Multi-Site Level Access is now available. This feature expands on the Site Level Access feature where you can limit a System Operator to viewing just one Site’s Assignments and volunteers. With the new feature, you can assign an operator to a pool of up to ten Sites so they can quickly switch their access to a new Site without exiting from Volgistics.

This introductory video outlines the basics of the new feature:

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Help topic 2209 “How to Use Multi-Site Level Access” gives a more in-depth look at Multi-Site Level access.

As with all updates from Volgistics, you do not need to pay extra money to get the latest software version to take advantage of Multi-Site Level Access. It’s already included for you to use free-of-charge without upgrading to a new version. Simply enable the new feature in your account and you’re ready to take advantage of the added benefits of Multi-Site Level Access!

If you have any questions for the team, we’re happy to assist you. Just submit an inquiry as shown in help topic 1027 “Sending and Receiving Help Inquiries” and we’ll respond promptly.

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Tip of the Week November 19, 2018

Create a Set to find small or large service entries.

At times you may get abnormal service entries that have been created. For example, if you use the VicTouch module, sometimes a volunteer will sign-in for an assignment, re- enter their PIN number to check the schedule, and then click the “Sign-out” button out of habit. This creates a very small service entry such as 1-3 minutes. Or, if volunteers enter their own service with the VicNet module, they may mistakenly enter a very small (or very large) number of service hours. One way to catch these would be to audit the service entries made through VicNet.

But if the service entries have already been made, another way to find the outliers is to use a Set. The “Their Service” Set rule has an option for “They have at least one service record with.” This option allows you to enter a hour limit and then search for service records that are “At least” or “Fewer than” the limit during a certain time frame. An example of how this could be used would be to find all volunteer records that have at least one service entry smaller than 10 minutes in any month of 2018. Another example would be to find all volunteer records that have at least one service entry larger than 12 hours in any month in 2018.

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Tip of the Week November 12, 2018

Create an automatic report that shows volunteers due for a Checklist item.

Volgistics includes a Checklist feature to help you track things such as orientations, flu shots, and background checks. You can use the Tickler feature in Volgistics to find volunteers who are due for a Checklist item. But you could also create an automatic monthly report showing volunteers who are due.

To do this, the first step would be to create a Set to identify the volunteers who are due for a Checklist Item. Help topic 2181 has general guidelines on making a Set if you’re unfamiliar with this. Your Set will use the “Their Checklist” Set rule. Since it will be part of an automatic report, you won’t be able to use the option that lists the month’s name. Instead you should use the “Due now” or “Due in the next 30 days” options.

Once the Set has been created, make a custom report that will show the information you need. Select the name of the Set on the Include page of the report to limit the report to just volunteers in the Set. Then use the settings on the Save page to make it an automatic report.

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Tip of the Week November 05, 2018

Search for a specific item in your account’s Event Log or a volunteer’s Notes tab.

Each Volgistics account has an Event Log that records key events. Even though every event in your account is not tracked due to size limitations, the Event Log can still become quite long. This can make it hard to find one specific item.

The same problem may occur on the Notes tab of volunteer records. There is not a way to locate specific text on the Notes tab and it may be difficult to find what you need if a lot of information has been recorded.

One way to address this is to use your web browser’s Find feature to locate the item you’re looking for. To do this, identify a unique key word or phrase to look for such as an event that is recorded, the name of a volunteer record, or the type of note you need. Then, bring up your account’s Event Log or the Notes tab. Use your web browser’s Find feature to look for the phrase you identified. You can bring up the Find feature from the web browser’s menu, or by using the “CTRL” plus “F” keyboard combination.

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Tip of the Week October 29, 2018

Spread holiday cheer with the VicTouch Greeting Cards feature.

If your organization uses the VicTouch module, you can create holiday cards that will be displayed when volunteers sign-in. The setup options allow you to customize a heading and message, and choose a date range for when the cards will be shown. You can use the graphics that are included, or upload a unique image for your organization. Images can be in GIF, JPG or PNG file formats and must be under 48 Kb in size.

You can setup two different holiday cards at a time with different date ranges selected for delivery. The holiday cards can be changed during the year to send greetings for all of the holidays your organization wants to acknowledge. The Greeting Cards feature also allows you to setup birthday and start date anniversary cards that will automatically be shown to volunteers when their special day arrives.

Help topic 2326 has more information on the Greeting Cards feature. See help topic 2327 for instructions on how to setup your account’s VicTouch greeting cards.

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Benefits of Volunteer Management Software

Benefits of Volunteer Management Software

Many nonprofit organizations are run almost entirely by volunteers. For example, 90 percent of American Red Cross humanitarian tasks are carried out by volunteers. Red Cross and Red Crescent have over 97 million volunteers worldwide. How do large organizations like the Red Cross manage their volunteer data? It is unlikely they keep track of volunteer performance in paper logs when technological tools are available. For most nonprofits, it would be unwise not to use technology to their advantage.

Technology has changed our lives in every aspect, from how we communicate to how we learn. Charitable organizations can use technology such as volunteer management software to keep track of volunteers easily. The right software saves time, money, and effort, so volunteer managers and volunteers have more room in their schedules to do what they love most — helping others.

In this post, we will look at all the reasons nonprofits can benefit from volunteer management software. As you will see, technology improves volunteer management in far more ways than one. Before we get started, let’s cover what volunteer management software is.

What is Volunteer Management Software?

What is volunteer management software? Volunteer management software is an easy-to-use online tool. Volunteer leaders can use software to keep track of volunteer data such as contact information, hours served, schedule changes, applications, and much more.

Volunteer management software is an easy-to-use online tool. Volunteer leaders can use this software to keep track of volunteer data such as contact information, hours served, schedule changes, applications, and much more. Many software programs feature texting and emailing capabilities with automated notification options to help volunteer managers save time, stay organized, and effortlessly keep in touch with all volunteers. With so many volunteers using technology to find opportunities, volunteer management software is a must-have for organizations that want to stay current and reach a vast audience.

Reasons to Use Volunteer Management Software

Reasons to use volunteer management software. The reasons to use volunteer management software seem endless, especially in today's world where most people connect to the internet every day.

The reasons to use volunteer management software seem endless, especially in today’s world where most people connect to the internet every day. Technology has become a vital part of everyday life. Volunteers expect organizations to not only be present online but also to offer ways to communicate and participate online. Volunteer management software provides the tools managers need to impact as many individuals as possible. Let’s explore more reasons to close the spreadsheet tab and sign up for volunteer management software right away.

How Volunteer Management Software Improves Volunteer Recruiting

How Volunteer Management Software Improves Volunteer Recruiting. Things are not like they used to be. Individuals no longer hunt for opportunities in newspapers or on bulletin boards.

Things are not like they used to be. Individuals no longer hunt for opportunities in newspapers or on bulletin boards. Although print resources can still help spread the word, organizations need to focus on digital methods to recruit volunteers. They also need to make recruitment as convenient as possible.

The majority of Americans find news, communicate, and share stories using technology whether it be through texting, emailing, social media, or browsing the internet. You want to make sure individuals can easily find your organization’s volunteering opportunities. It should also be quick and simple for volunteers to apply for an opening and share opportunities with others who may be interested. Volunteer management software allows you to either link application forms to your website or embed them so they appear as part of the page. This allows prospective volunteers to easily locate and submit an application in minutes. They can also share your advertisement via social media, increasing your reach.

If you are concerned older volunteers will not get online to apply, have no fear. Older generations also use technology in high numbers. Consider these statistics from Pew Research Center:

  • Ninety-two percent of Millennials own a smartphone.
  • Eighty-five percent of Gen Xers and 67 percent of Baby Boomers also own smartphones.
  • Eighty-five percent of Millennials say they use social media.

Other Pew research found:

  • Seventy-seven percent of Americans go online daily.
  • Twenty-six percent go online almost constantly.
  • Forty-three percent go online several times a day.

As you can see, the majority of American adults frequently use the internet. It’s essential that your organization is digitally available to meet the needs and wants of volunteers. Volunteers are more likely to respond to organizations that reach out to them and make recruitment simple. Here are more reasons volunteer management software improves recruitment:

  • Improves your image: Individuals are more willing to volunteer for an organization that seems worthwhile. When you integrate volunteer management software into your organization’s website, volunteers will see you are serious about your mission, you are organized, and you value your volunteers’ time because you want to make the process convenient for them.
  • Enables you to reach thousands in seconds: Technology is marvelous at reaching many people simultaneously. Instead of spending hours hanging up flyers or mailing brochures, you can easily reach prospective and current volunteers with a notification to alert them of openings.
  • Increases visibility: According to a 2016 Pew survey, 62 percent, or the majority of American adults, get news on social media. You too can use social media to your advantage. When you announce volunteer opportunities or events via social media platforms, you can spread the news quickly. Volunteers can follow your online campaign all the way to the application form, thanks to volunteer management software.
  • Targets the right audience: When you have easy access to volunteer demographics, you can develop campaigns to target the right audience. With volunteer management software, volunteers get to create their own profiles. You can use profiles to gain insight for building a successful campaign. Also, some software allows you to tag and classify volunteers based on age, interests, skills, and other pertinent info so you can quickly filter volunteers.
  • Makes your organization easy to find: People use the internet for everything, from ordering takeout to booking vacations. In 2015, Pew found that 79 percent of Americans used online resources to find jobs in the past two years while only 32 percent used ads in print publications. Many people will start their search for volunteer opportunities online, and you need to make it simple for them to find you and apply. With volunteer management software, they can search for opportunities based on their skills and interests, making recruitment easier, more personalized, and more convenient.

Improves your image, enables you to reach thousands in seconds, increases visibility, targets the right audience, makes your organization easy to find

Overall, your organization can use volunteer management software in any way you wish to recruit more volunteers and share your mission. You’ll certainly reach more individuals than organizations that do not embrace technology.

How Volunteer Management Software Helps With Volunteer Retention

How volunteer management software helps with volunteer retention. Although millions of Americans volunteer, many organizations struggle to keep volunteers, which can hinder progress. Fortunately, volunteer management software can help organizations retain volunteers in countless ways.

Although millions of Americans volunteer, many organizations struggle to keep volunteers, which can hinder progress. Fortunately, volunteer management software can help organizations retain volunteers in countless ways.

First, let’s consider why individuals choose not to volunteer. Here are a few reasons according to a 2009 Fidelity Charitable survey:

  • They have no time.
  • They feel pressured to give more time than they want to.
  • They cannot find the right organization to match their cause.
  • They had a bad experience volunteering in the past.

Keeping these insights in mind, here’s how you can use volunteer management software to help with volunteer retention:

  • Engage volunteers: Volunteers want to feel valued, engaged, and part of a team. Volunteer management software creates a space for volunteers to provide feedback, update their profiles, and choose assignments they prefer. When they feel like they are heard and are making a difference, they are more likely to stick around.
  • Make it easy to help: Volunteer management software makes the whole process easier from the application stage to the moment volunteers discontinue service. Users can easily sign in on-site, check their schedules from their phones, look at updates anywhere, and much more.
  • Show appreciation: If volunteers feel taken for granted, it is highly likely they will quit. Volunteer management software makes it easy to frequently show volunteers you care about them and appreciate them, even if your organization has hundreds or even thousands of volunteers. For example, if you want to send a birthday card to every volunteer, you can set up automatic birthday messages, so no one ever feels forgotten.
  • Find the right fit: If an assignment is too demanding or requires too much time, volunteers will move on to other nonprofits. However, volunteer management software helps prevent volunteer dissatisfaction, frustration, and burnout. You and your volunteers can use the software to find opportunities which match their skills and interests easily.
  • Send thank-you notes: Sometimes, all a volunteer needs to hear is a simple thank-you. Nevertheless, it can be time-consuming to thank every volunteer on your team regularly. Volunteer management software allows you to send out thank-you notes so you can frequently express your gratitude without spending too much time.
  • Promote future opportunities: You can retain volunteers you trust and love by using software to promote future opportunities. For example, if an assignment is coming to an end, you can notify volunteers and send new opportunities their way with just a few clicks.
  • Keep in touch: After a volunteer leaves, you should still keep in touch, because you never know what opportunities might appeal to them in the future. Also, you want them to think of your organization when their schedule opens up. You can send opportunity notifications, or you can send manual messages to connect with volunteers on a more personal level. Either way, focus on building positive relationships to keep volunteers coming back.
  • Show their impact: Volunteers want to see the results of their contributions. Improve volunteer retention by recognizing them for their accomplishments. Use volunteer management software to keep volunteers updated on the organization’s progress, so they will always feel like part of the team.

Engage volunteers, make it easy to help, show appreciation, find the right fit, send thank-you notes, promote future opportunities, keep in touch, show their impact

How Volunteer Management Software Improves Communication

Communication can become tedious when information is disorganized. How can you know how long a volunteer served your organization if you can’t find their info? How can you remember dozens of volunteers’ interests and qualifications? With volunteer management software, there is no need to stress about remembering the details. The next time you meet with a volunteer, you can thank them for helping you for two years, for example, or ask them how their cat is doing. Volunteer management software makes it possible to be a friend to all volunteers. Here are a few more ways volunteer management software improves communication:

  • You can send messages to thousands: With volunteer management software, you can contact the volunteers in your database in just a few keystrokes without needing to go through a time-consuming selection process. So, when there is a cancellation or change, you can notify all volunteers in a matter of seconds.
  • Texting keeps volunteers engaged: Volunteer management software allows you to send automated or manual texts to volunteers so they can participate and contribute even when they are on the go or off an assignment.
  • Volunteers can access info anywhere: Unlike the old days when people had to call their manager or drive to the worksite to look at their schedule, technology has made it possible to view schedules anywhere. Volunteers can access everything they need to know about their assignment on their phone or computer to prevent confusion and inconvenience. Many volunteers visit nonprofit websites through mobile devices. For example, according to the 2018 M+R Benchmarks study, mobile traffic for nonprofits increased by nine percent and accounted for 40 percent of nonprofit website visitors in 2017.
  • Volunteers get to use a channel they prefer: Some individuals prefer to keep their volunteer profiles and schedules separate from other day-to-day matters. Volunteer management software helps volunteers stay organized and in control of their volunteer work. Also, they know exactly where to go when it’s time to read a volunteer-related message or look for new opportunities, without having to weed through personal emails or social media messages. They’ll also know where they can reach you and other volunteers to help build strong relationships.

How Volunteer Management Software Impacts Scheduling

How volunteer management software impacts scheduling. Volunteer management software makes scheduling a headache-free task. Volunteers can choose their own shifts, view and print schedules, fill in vacancies, and cancel days they are no longer available.

Volunteer management software makes scheduling a headache-free task. Volunteers can choose their own shifts, view and print schedules, fill in vacancies, and cancel days they are no longer available. Most volunteers appreciate this level of flexibility. As mentioned above, many people choose not to volunteer because they say they don’t have time. Volunteer management software allows busy individuals to find a slot they can work with. Also, you’ll enjoy less stress as a volunteer manager. Online scheduling makes everyone happy.

How Volunteer Management Software Saves Time

By now, you can probably imagine how online management tools can help you save significant amounts of time. For example, when it’s time to print data reports, you’ll know exactly where to look for volunteer information. Also, volunteers can access their own data easily instead of needing to ask you for the information. Here are more reasons volunteer management software saves time:

  • It allows users to enter their own data and make updates, so staff does not have to spend hours or their time dedicated to data entry.
  • You’ll spend less time organizing and accessing data.
  • It makes assigning tasks easier and less time-consuming.
  • You can save time by using automated features.

When you save time, you also reduce stress for everyone in the organization, creating a happier environment all-around. When volunteers are happy, they stay.

How Volunteer Management Software Helps Raise Funds

How volunteer management software helps raise funds. Donors like to know exactly where their money is going. Volunteer management software is a tool to make your organization more transparent for donors.

Donors like to know exactly where their money is going. Volunteer management software is a tool to make your organization more transparent for donors. With the ability to track detailed records of every volunteer, from hours served to tasks completed, you can prove to donors that volunteers are making the most of the available resources.

Volunteer management software can also help you attract online donations. Many nonprofits are using digital channels to reach donors and obtain funding. With the help of social media, total online revenue grew by 23 percent in 2017 for nonprofits. Volunteer management software can help you grab donors’ attention by providing the data they need to see. Show your audience exactly how many hours volunteers served, how many people they helped, and other relevant facts. All this information is at your fingertips with management software, to save you time and keep information up-to-date when you need to reach donors.

Lastly, volunteer management software encourages volunteers to convert to donors. Volunteers are passionate individuals who love to help make the world better, not just by contributing their time and talents, but also with donations. For example, a 2014 Fidelity Charitable survey found that half of the survey respondents say volunteering leads them to give more financial support. Donors are also likely to be volunteers. According to the same survey, nearly four in five donors volunteered for a charitable organization in the past 12 months. You should treat volunteers like donors from the start.

Learn More About Volgistics Today

Integrating technology into your organization is essential if you want to recruit and retain as many volunteers as possible. It’s also a necessary organizational tool. As discussed, the majority of Americans use technology every day, and you do not want your organization to get left behind. The easier you make it for prospective and current volunteers to find you, sign-up, and spread the news, the brighter the future will be for your nonprofit. Overall, technology can help your organization flourish.

Learn more about Volgistics today. Volunteer scheduling; volunteer tracking; volunteer reporting; volunteer application forms; volunteer portal; text and email capabilities; customization options.

If you are a volunteer manager interested in adopting easy-to-use, comprehensive volunteer management software, try Volgistics. Volgistics is volunteer management software designed to increase management efficiency. Volgistics offers everything you need to keep volunteers engaged and data organized. Some core Volgistics features include:

  • Volunteer scheduling: Easily keep track of schedules, allow volunteers to sign up for open shifts from anywhere, print schedules, and more.
  • Volunteer tracking: Technology has made a powerful impact on tracking volunteers. With Volgistics, you can organize volunteer information with tabs, quickly find info with search tools, and assign volunteers flags to help you filter volunteers for the right assignment.
  • Volunteer reporting: Quickly generate PDF or spreadsheet reports, and make custom reports when it’s time to impress donors.
  • Volunteer application forms: Simplify the screening process with application forms that allow volunteers to submit their information online.
  • Volunteer portal: The optional, online volunteer portal, VicNet, gives volunteers control of their assignments. With VicNet, volunteers can update their contact information, check and print their schedules, sign up for openings, and much more, saving you time and giving them flexibility.
  • Text and email capabilities: Communicate with volunteers wherever they are through text or email. You can send custom messages to let volunteers know you appreciate them in your own words or quickly text those involved to notify them of last minute location changes.
  • Customization options: If there’s something your organization needs, you can customize nearly any Volgistics feature such as schedules, reports, and application forms. Link Volgistics forms right to your website to make it easy for volunteers to apply, review opportunities, and use VicNet. Share your site on social media and watch the news diffuse.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of Volgistics volunteer management software, the Volgistics team is ready to answer all of your questions. Watch a live demo, start your free trial, or contact us today!

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Tip of the Week October 22, 2018

Use Volgistics’ Holidays feature to remove volunteers from the schedule on days your organization will be closed.

If your organization closes or just keeps minimal staff on certain dates you can add the date as a holiday in your account. This will automatically remove all regularly scheduled volunteers from the schedule for the date you list as the holiday. If volunteers are needed on the holiday, you can schedule them for a single day without filling an opening, or create a “one day only” (as opposed to an “ongoing”) opening on that date. Help topic 2158 tells more about how to make openings.

You can learn how to setup the holiday dates for your account in help topic 1022. Each year you will need to add the holidays your organization will be observing, or edit the previous entries to show the correct date for the current year.

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Guide to Volunteer Retention

Guide to Volunteer Retention

Volunteers are extraordinary individuals and vital members of a community. Every year, millions of volunteers contribute their time, energy, and skills to helping others. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24. 9% of Americans volunteered in 2015, contributing an estimated value of $184 billion. Without volunteers, many organizations would not be able to reach their goals. Some organizations would not exist at all. Volunteers help organizations stretch their budgets to meet the needs of a community.

Unfortunately, the volunteer rate has decreased almost 2% from 2011 to 2015. When a valuable volunteer quits, they leave behind a void that can be hard to fill. Organizations can significantly benefit from using volunteer best practices to retain volunteers and attract new ones.

Volunteer Retention Tips

If you’re a volunteer manager, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of volunteer loss, and you might be wondering how to retain volunteers with the resources you have. Don’t lose hope – there are plenty of easy, inexpensive ways to retain volunteers. Sometimes, simply thanking volunteers regularly is enough to improve volunteer retention. With the following tips, you’ll learn a variety of volunteer retention strategies to keep volunteers coming back.

1. Make a Good First Impression

Making a good first impression is critical when recruiting and retaining volunteers. If a volunteer does not understand what you expect of them, or if they do not feel welcome from the get-go, it is unlikely they will return. You want volunteers to feel confident they can contribute to your mission and be part of a team from the beginning. You also want volunteers to feel appreciated for considering your organization as soon as you meet. The moment a volunteer feels uncomfortable or unwelcome is the moment they decide to leave.

Making a good first impression is critical when recruiting and retaining volunteers.

To make a good impression that will stick with volunteers throughout their service, keep these tips in mind:

  • Clearly define their responsibilities: If a volunteer has a clear understanding of their assignment, they are more likely to do a better job and feel satisfied. When they get satisfaction from their service, they are more likely to stay. Clearly communicate the specific purpose of their position and discuss their primary duties. Don’t forget to include essential details like worksite location, supervisor name, number of hours per week, benefits they will receive, and resources provided. You might give a brochure or packet so they can remember everything you discussed. Once they see you are prepared to receive their help, they will feel confident about their decision to join your mission.
  • Listen more than you talk: People are motivated to volunteer for many different reasons. Some individuals volunteer to learn a new skill, while others do it to help their community. Regardless of their motivations, make volunteers feel like their efforts will be worthwhile by listening to them, acknowledging their needs, asking questions, and showing how you can help them reach their personal goals. They will immediately feel appreciated and happy to contribute their time to an organization who values them as an individual.
  • Be a connector: Some volunteers will be interested in using your organization to explore their career interests or gain job training. Try to connect volunteers to staff members or others who can help them grow professionally as soon as possible. They will remember how you helped them, and they will be glad they volunteered for your organization rather than a different one.
  • Consider your body language: You want volunteers to feel welcome, so it’s important to pay special attention to your body language. For example, you can express openness by allowing your arms to relax at your sides. Avoid placing your hands in your pockets or crossing your arms as that signals defensiveness. Sit with a straight posture and maintain good eye contact to show you are listening and are genuinely interested in your volunteer.

Follow the above tips to make an excellent first impression, and you’ll be hard to forget when volunteers think about quitting or looking elsewhere.

2. Give Volunteers What They Need

Although many volunteers contribute their time and energy to help a good cause, some volunteers need to fill requirements for school. Others choose to volunteer to network with like-minded professionals. For example, according to a Fidelity Charitable survey, 22% of survey respondents are motivated to volunteer for networking purposes.

Twenty-two percent of survey respondents are motivated to volunteer for networking purposes

Volunteers are valuable nonetheless, and you want to keep them as long as you can. For this reason, assure volunteers from the beginning that you want to help them succeed. Consider offering volunteers the following:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • Job training
  • Networking opportunities
  • Educational opportunities
  • Skills development

When volunteers receive the resources they need to improve their lives, they will feel good about staying with your organization and proud to help. They will always remember how you helped them progress, and they’ll be happy to recommend your organization to others interested in volunteer work.

3. Make It Easy

Make it easy. Provide proper training and make it easy for volunteers to help, and they will keep coming back.

New volunteers might feel hesitant to join your organization, especially if they are inexperienced. Provide proper training and make it easy for volunteers to help, and they will keep coming back. On the contrary, if volunteers stand around feeling confused or overwhelmed by difficult tasks, you can expect them not to return. Here are a few ways to simplify the process:

  • Guide them: Be a new volunteer’s guide the moment they walk through the door. Give them a tour of the facility, introduce them to other volunteers and staff, and explain your mission. Also, make sure they understand their duties.
  • Provide training: Let them know immediately that they will receive the tools and training necessary to complete their assignments. Remind them you are grateful for their help, and let them know you are there to offer direction. If they are to be trained by someone else, explain to them who will provide their training.
  • Encourage questions: Volunteers should always feel comfortable asking questions. If they don’t, they might become frustrated with their tasks and leave. Encourage them to communicate with you, ask questions, and voice their concerns whenever they need to.
  • Provide support: New volunteers might feel excluded or anxious in the beginning. Help them feel a sense of belonging by pairing them with another volunteer for support. The buddy system is an excellent way to make a volunteer feel welcomed, and they get to make a new friend. A volunteer will be more likely to return when they feel connected to others.

It should not be difficult for volunteers to make a difference and help their community thrive. Make the whole process as simple as possible, from the sign-up to the arrival, and you’ll have volunteers returning time and time again.

4. Match Skills to Assignments

Almost half of survey respondents consider whether or not they will get to use their skills when choosing an organization. Forty-four percent say if an organization cannot use their specific skills they will go somewhere else.

Most volunteers do not want to do dull work. They are interested in volunteering because they have a specific talent or skill they wish to share with their community. If a volunteer gets to use their skills and talents, and if they get to see the results of their contributions, they will be more likely to stick around and continue enjoying a sense of accomplishment.

Most volunteers do not want to do dull work. They are interested in volunteering because they have a specific talent of skill they wish to share with their community.

Ask volunteers from the start what they love to do, what their interests are, and what they want to do. Do your best to match their skill levels with appropriate assignments. Also, give them the option to choose their assignment. Make sure volunteers are kept busy and have a backup plan if you accidentally overschedule volunteers. You do not want volunteers to feel like they are wasting their time.

5. Make It Fun and Comfortable

Volunteer work can be tough sometimes, no matter what someone’s skills are. Although volunteers are there because they want to be, it does not mean they should be uncomfortable. You can easily increase the level of comfort for volunteers with small details. For example, you might provide drinks, snacks, comfortable chairs, or other items that make the experience more pleasant.

It’s true that not all tasks are fun, but there are tons of ways to add joy to the atmosphere. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Bring in a new donut flavor once a week, or offer volunteers their favorite candy. Overall, it’s best to ensure volunteers enjoy their experience.

Also, consider that many individuals volunteer to meet new people and socialize. With this in mind, you might arrange gatherings outside of service to help build stronger bonds and lasting friendships. The more comfortable and happy a volunteer is, the more motivated they will be to return.

6. Be Flexible

Part of being a volunteer is giving up considerable amounts of time to complete a project or help an organization long-term. Because of time, many people choose not to volunteer. For example, 32% of survey respondents do not volunteer because of the pressure to give more time than they want to. Forty-six percent do not volunteer because they don’t have time.

In today’s world, most people have packed schedules. They might cross volunteering off their to-do list if the time requirements are too demanding. If you want to attract and retain volunteers, it’s important to be as flexible as possible with scheduling. Consider each volunteer’s personal life, and make sure they feel comfortable helping in small ways.

Be flexible. In today's world, most people have packed schedules. If you want to attract and retain volunteers, it's important to be as flexible as possible with scheduling.

You can also think of alternatives to appeal to a wider range of volunteers. For example, you might allow volunteers to work from home if possible, or to contribute only an hour a week. The point is to let volunteers know that any contribution is appreciated, and there is no long-term commitment. By giving them short-term assignments, volunteers with tight schedules are more likely to come back.

Also, specify the amount of time you need from volunteers when you advertise for help. That way, volunteers know what to expect before they get started. Most volunteers will appreciate the flexibility and lack of pressure.

7. Communicate Often

Volunteers like to feel that someone is watching over them, guiding them, and supporting them. If a volunteer feels forgotten, it is unlikely they will return. Reach out to volunteers, address their concerns, answer their questions, and listen to their feedback. Remind them frequently that you appreciate them, and make sure they never feel ignored.

Reach out to volunteers, address their concerns, answer their questions, and listen to their feedback. Focus on building positive relationships with volunteers to keep them coming back.

Also, take time to evaluate their skills and consider opportunities to help them grow or improve. Similarly, ask volunteers for their input about community needs or wants, and what can be done to improve the organization. Lastly, ask volunteers what they need and if they feel supported. Make them feel part of a family or team by frequently checking in.

Overall, volunteer managers should focus on building positive relationships with volunteers to keep them coming back. Try to stay connected through email, phone, meetings, or social media. Communicating with volunteers does not need to be complicated or time-consuming, yet it makes all the difference.

8. Prevent Volunteer Burnout

You may recall jobs you’ve held in the past that you did not enjoy. You can also probably think of jobs you loved. What were the differences between the two? Think about the characteristics of good and bad jobs and use that insight to build a better experience for volunteers. When volunteers do not like the work they do, they might experience burnout.

Burnout can occur when volunteers feel overwhelmed, underappreciated, or like nothing they do matters. When volunteers do not enjoy their assignments or feel taken for granted, they will see little reason to stay, even if they’ve been there for years. To prevent burnout and losing your most loyal volunteers, aim to create a long-lasting positive experience in the following ways:

  • Offer ongoing training and educational opportunities
  • Offer meaningful work with detailed responsibilities
  • Offer necessary resources and space
  • Make volunteers feel respected
  • Offer support however you can
  • Make volunteers feel recognized and valued

9. Show Appreciation

Each volunteer hour is valued at an estimated $24.69. Considering that volunteers donate their hard work and time, it’s important to make them feel appreciated and valued at every meeting.

Each volunteer hour is valued at an estimated $24.69

Showing appreciation can be easy and inexpensive. There are so many simple ways to show someone you care about them and value them. Sometimes, even the smallest gesture can make a huge difference and help you retain volunteers.

For example, you can thank a volunteer with a quick note or an email message. In a matter of minutes, you can show them you notice what they do for your organization, and you are grateful for them.

Some organizations thank volunteers by giving them free meals for a certain amount of hours worked. Either way, make sure to say thank you often. When a volunteer feels appreciated, they will continue to give their time and effort.

It’s okay to get creative and have fun with showing your appreciation. Keep in mind that expressing gratitude does not require tons of money, although it’s up to you how elaborate you wish to get. Here is a list of ideas to inspire you:

  • Send the message: Thank volunteers via letters, emails, or thank-you cards. Surprise volunteers with birthday cards, and make them feel extra special.
  • Spread the word: Give volunteers the recognition they deserve through media coverage or by writing about volunteers in newsletters. You might also provide a wall plaque for volunteers acknowledging their hours of service or start a volunteer-of-the-month program.
  • Give: Give volunteers gifts such as mugs, t-shirts, or tote bags decorated with the organization logo to make them feel like they belong. Give them treats like movie or concert tickets, gift cards, or other tokens of appreciation they can use and enjoy.
  • Celebrate: Celebrate National Volunteer Week and host an event to honor volunteers. Invite staff to the event to take part in the festivities and show their appreciation. You might also hold an annual event just for volunteers, or celebrate certain milestones you create with volunteers.
  • Listen: Make an effort to get to know volunteers personally. Remember details about their lives and interests, and continue the conversation next time you see them.

10. Stay in Touch

After a volunteer completes an assignment, it’s important to stay in touch. That way, if an individual decides they would like to volunteer again, they will know where to turn. You can encourage individuals to volunteer at your organization again by:

  • Thanking them
  • Showing their impact
  • Promoting future opportunities
  • Getting to know them better

Individuals will be more interested in volunteering again if they know they made a difference. Keep volunteers up-to-date on the organization’s progress. Share success stories or invite them to tour the full facility so they can see how their actions fit into the overall picture. Once they witness the result of their efforts, they will feel motivated to come back.

11. Keep Track of Volunteers

Depending on the size or sector, an organization might see dozens of new volunteers a year. With so many different names and faces coming and going, it can be difficult to keep track of volunteers. Nevertheless, volunteer managers need to develop a system to remember details about every individual and avoid making volunteers feel unnoticed.

Volunteer managers should be able to efficiently track a volunteer’s needs, hours of service, contact information, and personal information such as birthdate. They should also have a way to remember a volunteer’s interests and skills. With organized, easy-to-access information about each volunteer, managers can easily send birthday cards, email messages, thank-you notes, and more. It’ll also be easier to ask for volunteer feedback if you know how to reach them.

Keep track of volunteers. Volunteer managers should be able to efficiently track a volunteer's needs, hours of service, contact information, and personal information such as birth date.

The ultimate goal is to make volunteers feel like you truly care about them and appreciate them as an individual.

Try Volgistics Today

Volunteer managers can improve volunteer retention by using volunteer management software like Volgistics. Volgistics makes it easy to keep track of volunteers from the initial screening and beyond. With Volgistics, you can use the following features to boost volunteer satisfaction and simplify communication:

  • Volunteer scheduling: Featuring both automated and manual volunteer reminders, Volgistics helps you stay organized and on top of scheduling, so volunteers don’t wind up standing around.
  • Volunteer tracking: You can use Volgistics to easily keep track of volunteer information such as names, contact info, hours served, and more.
  • Volunteer application forms: You can effortlessly collect information about prospective volunteers from your organization’s website to consider the best individuals for an assignment.
  • Volunteer portal: With the optional VicNet module, volunteers can check their schedules, update their contact info, and receive messages from you to feel like a true part of the team.
  • Sign-in kiosk: VicTouch is optional but worth considering because it makes on-site sign-in easy for volunteers.
  • Text and email features: Keep communication open and ongoing through a channel volunteers prefer.

Try Volgistics Today

The Volgistics team is excited to help you improve volunteer retention with easy-to-use, contract-free volunteer management software. To learn more about Volgistics, contact our support team, join a live demo, or begin your free trial today.

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