5 Key Takeaways from the Points of Light Conference

We learned so much from the passionate community of industry leaders, volunteer managers, and change-makers.

We just got back from the Points of Light Conference, and we're buzzing with excitement. It was an amazing event filled with invaluable insights into volunteer management, with a big focus on inclusivity, strategic engagement, and leveraging technology. We learned so much from the passionate community of industry leaders, volunteer managers, and change-makers.

Here are five key takeaways from the conference that will help you enhance your volunteer program:

1) Prioritizing Equity-Driven Volunteer Engagement

The session "Equity-Driven Volunteer Engagement: Unpacking Systemic Barriers for Inclusive Impact" shone a spotlight on the critical need to address systemic inequalities within volunteer programs. Jamese Robinson from The Trevor Project emphasized the importance of understanding and dismantling these barriers to create genuinely inclusive volunteer opportunities.

It’s absolutely vital to track and analyze volunteer demographics. Are you doing this in your organization? If not, it's a crucial step to ensure that your recruitment strategies are equitable and inclusive. By actively monitoring these demographics, you can identify any gaps or disparities in your volunteer base. This data-driven approach allows you to tailor your outreach and engagement efforts, ensuring that you're attracting a diverse group of volunteers that truly reflects the community you serve.

Fostering a diverse volunteer workforce isn't just about fairness; it also enriches your program with a variety of perspectives and experiences. This diversity can lead to more innovative solutions and a deeper understanding of your community's needs. So, start by examining your current volunteer demographics, setting clear diversity goals, and implementing strategies to reach them. This will not only enhance the inclusivity of your volunteer program but also strengthen its overall impact.
Multiethnic group of young business people using laptop sitting on meeting in conference hall

2) Strengthening Community Connections

"Hold onto the Handshake - Developing Authentic Community Connections" underscored the necessity of building and maintaining lasting relationships with community partners. Melvin Meade and Andrew Milburn from the Harris County Department of Education provided valuable insights and practical steps on how to nurture these crucial connections.

When you have a well-documented history of your interactions, it becomes easier to pick up where you left off, revisit past discussions, and build on previously established goals and achievements. This kind of sustained engagement fosters trust and reliability, which are the cornerstones of any successful partnership. It shows your community partners that you are committed to the relationship for the long haul, not just when it's convenient or beneficial for your organization.

Authentic community connections are built on a foundation of sustained effort and clear communication. By keeping thorough records and consistently nurturing these relationships, you can ensure that your collaborations are not only long-lasting but also effective in achieving shared goals and making a significant impact in the community.

3) Expanding Skills-Based Volunteering

"Impact at Scale: Global Skills-Based Volunteering" shed light on the expanding trend and significant benefits of skills-based volunteering. The session featured insightful presentations from Saadia Malik of Johnson & Johnson and Dana Yellin from the Taproot Foundation, who both shared their experiences and strategies in scaling skills-based volunteer programs on a global level.

For organizations looking to optimize their volunteer programs, it is crucial to ensure that volunteers’ specific skills are matched with appropriate opportunities. This alignment not only maximizes the impact of their contributions but also enhances volunteer satisfaction and retention. By deploying the right skills where they are most needed, organizations can achieve greater program effectiveness and make a more meaningful impact.

Incorporating a strategic approach requires a thorough understanding of both the volunteers’ capabilities and the needs of the communities they serve. Organizations should invest in tools and processes that facilitate precise matching, provide continuous feedback, and measure outcomes to continually refine and improve their programs. When executed thoughtfully, skills-based volunteering can be a powerful force for social good, driving positive change on a global scale.

The Definitive Guide to Successful Volunteer Recruitment

Your volunteer recruitment strategy should be focused on more than simply filling opportunities. To build a lasting community you need to ensure you can engage with the next generation of volunteers and represent people from different cultures and backgrounds.


4) Implementing Best Practices for Inclusivity

The "Inclusivity in Action: Best Practices from 30 Years of National Public Lands Day" session offered practical strategies for engaging diverse volunteer groups. This session was led by Kelly Burnett from the National Environmental Education Foundation and Megan Urban from the National Park Service, both of whom brought extensive experience and insights into fostering inclusivity within volunteer programs.

To effectively reach and engage a broad audience, your organization should be utilizing custom forms and communication tools tailored to diverse groups. This includes designing volunteer registration forms that capture a wide range of interests and needs, as well as developing targeted communication strategies that resonate with different demographics. By using inclusive language and imagery in your outreach materials, you can attract a more diverse pool of volunteers and make them feel welcomed from the outset.

This also involves creating volunteer roles that cater to various skill levels and interests, offering flexible scheduling options, and recognizing the contributions of all volunteers in meaningful ways. By demonstrating a genuine commitment to inclusivity, you can ensure that all volunteers feel valued and included, which in turn fosters a sense of belonging and encourages long-term engagement.

Embracing inclusivity in your volunteer program not only enriches the volunteer experience but also strengthens the overall effectiveness of your initiatives. Your organization can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment that leverages the strengths of a diverse volunteer base to achieve greater impact.

5) Enhancing Strategic Volunteer Engagement

The session "Jump Start Strategic Volunteer Engagement Through Self-Assessment and Asset Sharing to Implement Change" provided a look at the critical importance of strategic volunteer engagement in achieving organizational goals. Featuring expert insights from Rosie Drumgoole of Chicago Cares and Kayla Paulson of AL!VE (Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement), the session emphasized the value of conducting self-assessments and sharing resources to drive continuous improvement in volunteer programs.
Consistently evaluating your volunteer engagement strategies is essential. Conducting regular self-assessments allows you to identify both strengths and areas that need improvement. These assessments can take many forms, such as detailed surveys, focus groups with volunteers, and quantitative analysis of volunteer activity and outcomes. By systematically gathering and analyzing this data, you can make informed, data-driven decisions that enhance the effectiveness of your volunteer program.
Sharing resources and collaborating with other organizations can amplify your efforts. Whether it's through formal partnerships or informal networks, exchanging knowledge and assets can lead to innovative solutions and improved volunteer engagement. This collaborative approach not only maximizes the impact of individual programs but also fosters a sense of community and shared purpose among organizations working toward common goals.
Implementing these practices can lead to a more dynamic and responsive volunteer program. By regularly evaluating your strategies and sharing resources, you create a cycle of continuous improvement. This proactive approach ensures that your volunteer engagement remains aligned with your organizational objectives and community needs, ultimately leading to better outcomes and greater satisfaction for both volunteers and beneficiaries.
Attractive teacher helping her student in computer class at the university

Leveraging Rosterfy for Effective Volunteer Management

Incorporating insights from the Points of Light Conference into your volunteer management practices with Rosterfy's software can greatly improve how your organization manages and engages volunteers. Here’s how Rosterfy can support each of these takeaways:
  • Equity-Driven Engagement: Use Rosterfy's demographic tracking to ensure equitable recruitment and inclusive volunteer opportunities.
  • Community Connections: Maintain detailed records of communications to foster ongoing and effective collaborations.
  • Skills-Based Volunteering: Align volunteers' skills with suitable opportunities, maximizing impact.
  • Inclusivity Best Practices: Customize communication and registration processes to reach and engage a diverse volunteer base.
  • Strategic Engagement: Utilize Rosterfy’s analytics to conduct self-assessments and make data-driven improvements to volunteer programs.
By embracing these strategies and leveraging the capabilities of Rosterfy, your organization can create a more effective, inclusive, and impactful volunteer program, driving meaningful change in your community.

About Rosterfy

Rosterfy is used by nonprofits, charities, sporting federations, local governments, and more to better manage their volunteer programs by improving how they can recruit, screen, train, and retain volunteers.

Our market leading technology helps you create an engaging experience throughout the whole lifecycle of your volunteer journey.

Book a call today.

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