NAPA – North Adriatic Ports Association

Achieving Excellence in Volunteer Management

Understanding Volunteer Management

For any volunteer organisation to succeed, it is imperative that resources are managed properly. Management involves establishing a cohesive balance between the volunteers and the organisation today and in the future. As such, comes the concept of volunteer management. It involves presiding over all the resources of a volunteer organisation to ensure coherent coordination of the voluntary work.

There are numerous ways and approaches to volunteer management, but one universal rule is that it is the glue that ensures success for volunteer firms. Good management and bad management are thin lines upon which volunteer work is successful, or not, therefore managing volunteers training is the right step for you. There are also various tools and versions of a comprehensive approach to volunteer management. We, however, seek strategies connoted by international literature to coordinate volunteer resources.

Volunteers, especially noteworthy ones, are limited, yet the marketplace is flooded with numerous charities. As such, charities are in a never-ending competition to harness volunteers, and not only this but retain them. This means that for success in the industry, all charities must improve their volunteer management, increase the number of volunteers, and retain their volunteers. One such way is by measuring the impact of their voluntary work which is important due to social, financial, and political influences.

On the other hand, the volunteers, both corporate and individual are also looking for worthwhile volunteer opportunities. With more than 47,000 volunteer organisations and over 1.4 million live chances to volunteer, it, therefore, goes without saying that volunteering organisations have to be on their best behaviour to standout. The pressure on these firms continues to soar, and as such, volunteer management has to be exceptional, to attract more volunteers and retain them for the future.

Here are our Top Tips for attracting volunteers:

• Respond quickly to any expressions of interest. As soon as a potential volunteer expresses interest, engage them promptly, and ensure that you provide adequate information. A research study has shown that 36% of potential volunteers abandon the idea of charity due to ambiguity and lack of understanding.

• Understand what volunteers would like to gain from the experience and what else they may provide to the organisation to ensure you create a fulfilling relationship.

• Make the volunteer understand the role that they play in revolutionising society, making the world a better place and all other positive outcomes that they have to the community.

• Make your cause irresistible. Show volunteers in action using images and videos and providing clear job titles of volunteers.

• Market yourselves online, to reach more people. More so, ensure that you are accessible via digital phones. Today, the majority of online presence comes from mobile users other than computers so have this mind.

Tips for managing volunteers:

• Access yourself against best practice and aim to meet this threshold by investing in Volunteers standard. Get an independent firm to assess your performance.

• Provide adequate support for your volunteers by making it easy to access support advisers or by setting up peer communities. This way, volunteers can carry out charity work confidently.

• Recognise the achievements of volunteers, such as achieved outcomes, the number of hours contributed, and, qualifications amongst others.

• Improve personnel efficiency and team coordination

Tips for measuring the impact of volunteers

• Show the value of volunteering to all your stakeholders. That said, define your cause, show how you achieve the same, collect information that is important to the same, and show this information to everyone. To do this, you’ll need a comprehensive impact framework that can help you demonstrate things like:

– Diversity, demographics, nature of volunteers.
– What motivates them
– The extent of delivery that volunteers provide such as no. of hours and the cash in-kind contribution
– Positive value contributed to society by volunteers.
– What they stand to gain from the experience: personally, socially, and economically.
– Finally, how much volunteers mean to your organisation. Show their contribution to the sustainability and growth of your organisation financially, in-kind, and in terms of human resources.