Why are Volunteers Important?
Volunteers are a vital resource to the nonprofit sector. The vast majority of nonprofits are governed by a volunteer board of directors. Plus, many nonprofits would not be able to fulfill their missions without the service of volunteers.
Not every nonprofit has the need or capacity to successfully organize and operate a volunteer program. Appreciating the resources required to successfully integrate volunteers into a nonprofit’s operations is key to a sustainable program. Success is not ensured simply by finding a few people willing to spend a few hours helping out your nonprofit. Resources for recruiting, screening, training, supervising, and evaluating volunteers are necessary.
How Can Nonprofits Connect with Volunteers?
Visit the links below whether you are a nonprofit looking for assistance or an individual seeking to share your time and expertise:
- Find your State Association. State Associations frequently offer workshops and webinars on topics relating to volunteer management and may know of local nonprofits looking for assistance.
- The state offices of the Corporation for National & Community Service can connect your nonprofit with local entities that manage and administer volunteer programs in your state. You can also list or find volunteer opportunities at their site dedicated to service, Serve.gov.
- Your community may have a volunteer center that matches volunteers with nonprofit service projects.
- Interested in micro-volunteerism? Check out Sparked, a site connecting nonprofits with short-term project needs and individual experts.
- Pro bono engagements can be helpful to address longer term projects or projects requiring specific expertise. Catchafire can help assess needs, find the right pro bono expertise, and ensure that the pro bono engagement is a positive experience for both nonprofit and volunteer.
- Concerned that your nonprofit is not ready to manage a pro bono volunteer? Learn how to become "powered by pro bono" through the TapRoot Foundation's website resources and the book, Powered by ProBono.
- VolunteerMatch has connected more than 5 million volunteers and nonprofits since 1998 and has thousands of opportunities currently listed. Find one in your community or check out their virtual opportunities to help from home.
- Compendium of links to resources on effective practices for volunteer management.
- Review a model Volunteer Policies Handbook courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation.
- Read a Sample Youth Volunteer Waiver and Publicity Release.
- See this Sample Minor Waiver courtesy of Habitat for Humanity, San Antonio, Texas.
- Review this Sample Adult Volunteer Waiver.
- Read Exploring the Serve America Act, by Paula J. Beugen. This document offers comprehensive and timely information about the 2009 Serve America Act.
- Read The New Volunteer Workforce, by David Eisner, Robert T. Grimm Jr., Shannon Maynard, and Susannah Washburn. This article provides an in-depth perspective on the challenges of volunteer management and discusses findings about why volunteers do not continue in volunteer service unless their experiences are successful.
- Review this list of free software tools for volunteer management.
- Volunteer Spot offers free tools for scheduling, coordinating and organizing volunteers.
- Energize, Inc. offers a variety of resources on volunteers and volunteering, including Satisfying Staff First, an article by Ivan H. Scheier that presents an analysis of the complexities of the relationship between volunteers and staff.
- Read Blue Avocado’s tips for Tracking Volunteer Time To Boost Your Bottom Line – A Complete Accounting Guide.
- Hone your volunteer and risk management skills with this online tutorial on Volunteer Risk Management from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.
- Powered by Pro Bono: The Nonprofit s Step-by-Step Guide to Scoping, Securing, Managing, and Scaling Pro Bono Resources
- Resources on Nonprofit Internships.
Volunteers and Volunteering: