Volunteer Management Strategies for Impact and Engagement

Enhance your impact with streamlined volunteer management. Explore strategies, interview questions and tools for recruitment, onboarding and reporting.

Challenges and Solutions for Efficient Volunteer Management

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with volunteer recruitment and management, you’re not alone.

According to a 2023 National Council of Nonprofits survey, 74.6% of U.S. respondents reported nonprofit job vacancies, compared to only 33% in private businesses. The reasons vary, with salary competition, budget constraints and burnout among the most common.

In the U.K., the situation seems to be even worse, considering its record-low percentage of positive work cultures and 34% reporting a toxic one, per Salesforce data.

Yet, it’s clear that the nonprofit sector is facing unprecedented challenges and that only a new form of volunteer management can help master them. We’ll walk you through the hidden costs of volunteer churn and strategies to modify your onboarding process and impact reporting to address them.

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Adjust the interview process for each volunteer’s role

For many volunteers around the globe, it’s increasingly important to know their time is well spent at their chosen organisation.

According to the 2021/22 Community Life Survey, 24% of respondents in the U.K. stated they’d be encouraged to donate or increase their donations if they had confidence in the nonprofit’s efficient management. The pattern repeats in the 2022 Canadian Giving Report, where 68.2% reported that trusting in the organisation’s management affected their decision when considering donating or volunteering. 8.8% didn’t consider charities an effective way to make change.

Based on these statements and dropping volunteer numbers, it’s clear that donors and volunteers need an extra layer of protection these days. One way of re-affirming their choice is an efficient volunteer management process.

By sharing your approach to adaptable interview and time management processes, your organisation can demonstrate its commitment to securing capable candidates and tailoring roles based on volunteer profiles.

Since they’re often pressed for time, many nonprofit organisations tend to follow a one-size-fits-all interview process, which can hinder rapid placement. Not to mention, a generic approach like this may cause you to overlook certain candidates’ nuanced skill sets and to mismatch volunteers, ultimately leading to dissatisfaction and lower engagement.

An efficient interview process not only accelerates the recruitment process but also ensures a more precise placement of volunteers, which is the exact answer to those having doubts about your nonprofit’s management. By implementing targeted test questions geared toward specific roles and necessary background checks, organisations can quickly identify and allocate suitable candidates.

That said, adapting interview questions to fit the unique demands of a range of volunteer positions presents its own set of challenges. Your management team needs to craft role-specific interview criteria based on a deep understanding of your organisation’s mission and past experiences.

However, the problem rarely lies in nonprofit’s misunderstanding or lack of motivation to implement these practices. Rather, management already struggles with its day-to-day or reporting duties, causing them to fall by the wayside in the interview process.

A volunteer management solution like Rosterfy can help you design the entire recruitment plan based on your nonprofit’s unique vision and requirements. By creating custom forms, you can gather the information you need to inform your role allocation and therefore reinforce your organisation’s mission with donors and volunteers.


How to Future Proof Your Volunteer Program

Volunteer numbers are falling and people are feeling the pinch from the increased cost of living, resulting in fewer people offering their time to support your cause. So how do you ensure your volunteer program can continue?


Sample interview questions to find the right volunteers for your organisation

To get you started, we’ve designed sample interview questions and tips. We appreciate that every organisation has slightly different requirements, so here are some overarching frameworks to consider when designing your interview process:

Volunteer motivation and involvement

  • What drives your interest in volunteering? Can you share a specific experience that motivated you to get involved?
  • Can you describe a time when you felt particularly appreciated or valued for your volunteer work?
  • How would you define an active volunteer based on your past experience?
  • Can you discuss a situation where you had limited volunteer access but still managed to significantly contribute to a cause?

Volunteer hours and experience

  • How do you envision contributing your time and expertise to our organisation’s mission?
  • What relevant experience or skills do you bring to this potential volunteer role?
  • In your past volunteer job, how have you effectively communicated within small groups or the local community?
  • Could you share an example where your communication skills were pivotal in providing emotional support to someone in need?
  • Based on your expectations, which factors could contribute to an optimal volunteering experience? What can we do to show our appreciation?

Volunteer orientation and boundaries

  • How do you usually prepare for a volunteer role or orientation before starting your volunteer work?
  • When faced with administrative tasks within a volunteer role, how do you maintain professional boundaries while ensuring tasks are completed efficiently?
  • How do you perceive the role of a volunteer manager?

Engagement and community impact

  • How do you see your involvement as a volunteer impacting the local community or the existing volunteers?
  • Can you discuss a situation where you had to approach volunteers to convince them of a common goal?
  • In your opinion, how can asking the right question promote the dignity of those you serve as a volunteer?
  • Can you share an instance where aligning personal objectives with volunteering opportunities positively impacted the achievement of organisational goals?

Prospective volunteers and relatives

  • Have you encouraged relatives or friends to engage in volunteer work? How did you motivate them to get involved?
  • How do you think volunteer motivation within small groups can strengthen community bonds or create a greater impact?

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Identify and encourage valuable skills during onboarding and training

Nobody likes to see their time go to waste, and volunteers are no exception, so it’s no wonder that experts in volunteer advancement recommend making the onboarding process as efficient as possible. Ineffective onboarding not only consumes valuable time on both sides but also keeps your organisation from leveraging volunteers’ unique capabilities. Manual procedures often lead to delays, paperwork bottlenecks and a lack of standardised practices, hindering the swift integration of volunteers into their respective roles.

Platforms like Rosterfy revolutionise volunteer recruitment by simplifying and automating the onboarding process. Here are some ways in which Rosterfy can streamline the interviewing and onboarding process:

  • Designing custom questionnaires related to your volunteer recruitment needs.
  • Quickly shortlisting suitable candidates with automation for credentials and background checks.
  • Keeping volunteers engaged with tailored learning modules and training programs.
  • Centralised staff records and profiles for informed role matching based on qualifications.
  • Automated SMS and email notifications for a smooth onboarding process.
  • Simplified task allocation and scheduling features for optimal resource allocation.

Through Rosterfy’s streamlined approach, your organisation can simplify the recruitment process and foster a more engaged and committed volunteer base by ensuring an engaging entry into their roles.

The hidden cost of poor volunteer engagement and retention

Improper onboarding or lack of continuous training can lead to a domino effect of poor volunteer engagement or even burnout, often resulting in high turnover rates.

Many nonprofits are already taking notice. 65.2% of U.S. organisations polled for the 2023 State of Volunteer Engagement Report reported relying on a volunteer engagement professional (VEP) in 2019. While the numbers of those counting on this aid have been pretty stable for two decades, the number of organisations without VEP support is drastically shrinking. 75% even state that the VEP reports to C-Suite executives. Recent data from the 2023 Time Well Spent report on dropping volunteer satisfaction suggests that the U.K. is facing comparable challenges.

This goes to show that nonprofits can’t afford to stick with the same processes they have used in the past. Today, a drop in volunteer engagement or mismanagement means a drain on resources, as you keep investing in recruiting, training and onboarding to compensate for lost volunteers.

The only sensible way to fight this trend is to do everything in your power to boost volunteer retention. A more stable volunteer base leads to heightened institutional knowledge, improved operational efficiency and a stronger sense of community. It’s not new that volunteers who receive ongoing training and support tend to become more deeply engaged. Despite many nonprofits’ best intentions, existing admin tasks can take up so much time that training and engagement drop to the bottom of the to-do list.

Once you can rely on streamlined processes for both reporting and onboarding with a tool like Rosterfy, it becomes easy to personally connect with every individual volunteer, thus ensuring they’ll make meaningful contributions to your mission for years to come.


Digital Workforce Transformation

Unlock the true potential of your volunteers and paid staff by embracing technology to streamline your workforce management.


Measure your positive impact reliably for reporting

With donations and donor retention significantly falling, continuous and accurate impact reporting begins to take on a new role. Nowadays, it not only serves to convince curious or critical donors but also potential volunteers. However, manual data collection for charity impact reports presents a myriad of challenges.

Just to fulfil your legal duties during annual reports, you have to collate data from disparate sources, often in varied formats, spending significant amounts of time and resources on the process. That doesn’t even account for seasonal or topical reports you might want to share on your website or social media to convince curious visitors of your mission, assuming you had the time.

The very task of manual reporting works against your actual goal, though. While your staff tries to navigate a labyrinth of files, they don’t get around to serving your organisation’s mission, thus impacting your overall efficiency and hurting your ability to convince others to volunteer or donate.

Rosterfy stands as a pivotal solution in automating data collection and reporting, significantly reducing the burden on staff and improving accuracy. By integrating diverse data sources on volunteer engagement and registrations or email signups into a unified platform, Rosterfy streamlines your reporting process. Thanks to its seamless data collection and report generation functionalities, your staff can save valuable time and capture reliable data even for spontaneous reports. This will make your nonprofit organisation stand out and establish you as a trustworthy partner.

More regular and thorough reporting has a profound impact on funding opportunities and stakeholder relationships. Timely and accurately compiled reports, facilitated by platforms like Rosterfy, showcase your organisation’s transparency, efficiency and impact. This, in turn, enhances credibility, fostering stronger connections with funders, donors or even corporations looking for partnerships.

The automation of data collection and reporting processes empowers your organisation to allocate resources more efficiently. Staff previously burdened with manual data compilation can redirect their efforts toward strategic planning, program development and fostering relationships, maximising your overall impact.

Onboard and retain volunteers with ease

The unprecedented challenges nonprofits are facing right now will force them to adapt to new models of volunteer management, impact reporting and community engagement. Rosterfy can help your organisation streamline those processes while giving time back to your volunteers, and in turn, your community.

If you’d like to get a sense of the positive impact Rosterfy can have on your operations and your community, talk to us today!

About Rosterfy

Rosterfy is used by nonprofits, charities, sporting federations, 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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