Summary: In today’s podcast, Diana Zhang from NeighborsShare and Stephen Halasnik from Financing Solutions discuss how to get the most out of nonprofits volunteers. There’s no better approach to solving the challenges of staffing in nonprofits than the use of volunteers. From performing bureaucratic functions to helping in nonprofits fundraising campaigns, harnessing the strengths and the abilities of volunteers is key for the optimal operations of nonprofits. Owners of nonprofits need to look for ways to leverage the volunteers’ skill sets in the best possible ways.
Building and Managing Nonprofit Volunteer Team
Volunteers are the critical ingredient for the growth and progress of nonprofits. Today, the importance of volunteering to nonprofit cannot be downplayed even as nonprofits’ works are becoming more complex and complicated. The management of volunteers has become a fundamental issue in nonprofits operations. Every nonprofit owner should learn how to build, retain and motivate their volunteers to get the most out of them.
Moreso, volunteers help in identifying and bootstrapping promising creative endeavors within nonprofits. With their varying skill set, you would have access to a selection of experts that are the perfect fit for specific duties. For instance, roles like marketing, product management, IT, and more are what volunteers can perform within nonprofit organizations.
It’s essential that nonprofits pull in passionate people that are energized to help in reaching their objectives. Nonprofits should make the structure and dependency of the volunteer team more purposeful and intentional for a better volunteering experience.
The importance of Nonprofit Volunteers
Volunteering is strategic for the success of nonprofits. Hence, the management of nonprofit organizations should gear efforts towards recruiting, managing, and retaining volunteers for efficient service delivery. Having passionately engaged and dedicated volunteers ensure nonprofit deliver vital programs and services effectively.
Nonprofits volunteers perform various duties and can become relevant in several departments within nonprofits. For instance, they can lend their support on the board of directors to fundraising campaigns and work in direct customer service roles.
Training the Nonprofit Volunteers
Adequate training is essential for high-level employees’ productivity. Nonprofits should train their volunteers to make them more relevant within the organizations. Many nonprofits have complicated tasks that demand specialized knowledge to be done properly. Training the volunteers ensures that their inherent skill sets are harnessed to align with the nonprofit’s core vision and mission.
Plus, education and training programs for volunteers help them become well-integrated into nonprofits’ core values.
There’s no denying that the more talented volunteers you have, the more efficient and effective your service delivery. Nonprofits should focus more on quality during recruitment exercises by ensuring that the recruitment process permits only competent people to be onboarded.
Working with brilliant minds ensures that everyone works on a level playing field, reducing burnout, frustration, and boredom. In addition, recruiting talents makes it easier for volunteers to get plugged into the organization seamlessly.
Engaging Your volunteers through Ownership
Experience has shown that volunteers become more engaged when they have a sense of belonging. The collaborative and strategic partnership is the jewel in the crown in nonprofit volunteering, so to speak. In other words, leveraging the strengths and abilities of others through a partnership is a strategic way of building nonprofits.
Delegation and Leadership
The management of your volunteers should be an utmost priority. There should be a clear line of communication to ensure that your nonprofit is always in sync with your volunteers. Put differently, you should have a leadership structure that manages the affairs of your volunteers in a way that aligns with your nonprofits’ set goals. Plus, you should be able to delegate functions to volunteers that have proven track of leadership ability to help in maximizing the efforts of others toward the attainment of your organizational objectives.
Nonprofit volunteers have provided immense benefits to the success of nonprofits. Still, some organizations are resistant to working with volunteers leading to increased overhead costs and a shortage of personnel. However, in today’s face-paced world, the ‘do-it-alone’ approach is not the best approach to growth. Nonprofits should look for ways to draw passionate and talented people into their fold for effective and rapid service delivery.
In addition, deepening ties with your nonprofit volunteers foster collaboration, motivation, and retention.
Learn About Our guest
Diana Zhang is the CEO and Co-Founder of NeighborShare, a nonprofit on a mission to empower our communities’ frontline heroes to help families through pivotal moments of the need of $400 or less. Prior to that, she spent 15 years in strategy and operations as an executive at Bridgewater Associates, a premier asset management firm. Outside of work, Diana is passionate about food and advocating on behalf of those who lack access to it. She serves on the Board of Connecticut Foodshare. Diana is a Presidential Leadership Scholar, and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Economics and Government from Dartmouth College.
Learn About Stephen Halasnik
Stephen Halasnik is the host of the popular, The Nonprofit MBA Podcast. The Nonprofit MBA podcast’s purpose is to help nonprofit leaders. Stephen is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Financing Solutions, a leading provider of loans for nonprofits in the form of Lines of Credit to nonprofits. Stephen is a best-selling Amazon author and is considered a leading authority on building great, purpose-driven businesses. Stephen lives in New Jersey with his wife, Gina. Mr. Halasnik’s number one purpose is raising his two boys, Michael and Maxwell, to be good men.
10% of profits from Financing Solutions is donated to charity.