113Organizations come in all shapes and sizes but when it comes to giving back to the community there’s a common path to success.  Whether your group is a school or church with hundreds of members, or a corporation or website portal with tens of thousands, you can better impact your chosen cause – and your organization’s brand – if you encourage your constituents to participate in a volunteer program.  And an effective volunteer program is only possible with smart volunteer management.

Wondering how your group members can best volunteer?  Your imagination is the only limit. That said, a robust volunteer management system will help you maximize your volunteering opportunities, communicate to volunteers with ease, automatically track and report your efforts, measure your group’s impact, and offer extras like built in donation processing, dollars for doers, and matching donation options.

However your group proceeds with volunteering, it’s important to implement these giving back efforts in the most efficient way possible.  A positive experience will make it easier for your group to build on its success, so keep these five tips in mind as you launch your group’s volunteer program:

  1. Focus on Your Strengths: If your group’s expertise is in sports, then perhaps organizing a basketball league provides a unique way to help underserved children. If your organization is all about technology, then helping a nonprofit improve its online presence could be the best use of your members’ talents.  Wherever your group’s assets lie, that’s where you can most effectively help your community.
  1. Create an Action Plan:  When dealing with many moving parts, which even the smallest volunteer programs will have, you’ll need to ensure your efforts aren’t wasted.  So make sure you have a clear plan of when you’ll announce the program, how people will be able to contribute to the cause, where people can go to ask questions and who on your staff will handle issues that might arise.  By usingtechnical tools when gathering funds and volunteers, you can ease this process and ensure your efforts are a success.
  1. Notify Everyone:  Alert the world (or at least the universe of your organization) about your program.  You never know who might be a potential volunteer or donor who tips your cause from a moderate success to an all-out triumph.  This means going beyond basic notifications to your alumni association or staff; with social media tools, your potential base for contributions and volunteers grows greatly.  So don’t be shy about soliciting participation via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or any other platform that can reach a wide audience.
  1. Trust Your Groupies: Your constituents volunteered because they wanted to help; that means it’s not just up to you to pull off the entire project. Delegate tasks that you know others can handle. Put your most trusted volunteers in charge of others; doing so will ease the burden on one administrator and help more people feel invested in the outcome
  1. Highlight Your Wins: Mobilizing volunteers and donors to help the community will hopefully become a common practice once you’ve gotten past that first hurdle.  By engaging your members in common good, you’ve begun exercising a muscle that will get stronger over time.  Make sure that volunteers and your wider audience know what success looks like; share photos in your newsletters, offer first-person stories from those you helped on your blog and highlight the impact you made via social media outlets.  You’ll make your volunteers feel recognized while also putting your community on notice that your organization is a force for good that is serious about its social responsibility.

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