Build Your Volunteer Capacity in Six Easy Steps

By July 14, 2015Uncategorized

Build Your Volunteer Capacity in Six Easy Steps

Want to improve your nonprofit’s volunteer program but you don’t know where to start or how much time it will take? FirstLink is a local community volunteer organization that specializes in Volunteer Management Training. Below are six great ways that FirstLink’s Volunteer Network suggests to increase your volunteer capacity!

1. Have ALL staff members come up with new ideas or job descriptions for volunteers.

When was the last time that your entire staff sat down and wrote brand new, creative job descriptions for how volunteers can get involved with your mission? Every person on staff in your organization should have ownership in how volunteers are being used. At your next staff meeting, ask every employee to brainstorm one new way to use a volunteer within your organization. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with one new volunteer!

2. Brainstorm what skills you would like to utilize in your organization.

The vast majority of nonprofits don’t have the capacity to hire entire departments of people to help grow their organization. This means that things like marketing, fundraising, human resources, and even building maintenance are left up to employees to handle. Learning how to recruit volunteers to build up the areas your organization is struggling in is a fantastic way to grow your mission. In the same way that you can recruit professionals to serve on your Board of Directors, you can recruit professionals to help you with day to day tasks and activities!

3. Are you in a volunteer recruitment rut? Recruit volunteers in new ways!

If you only recruit volunteers one way you will only recruit the same types of people. If you want new volunteers to build capacity for your mission, you need to learn where to find them. Has your organization ever directly reached out to a company that has access to the professionals your looking for? For instance, if you would like a volunteer who’s an accountant or a public relations specialist then you need to specifically reach out to companies who employ those types of people. Building up your organization and mission requires building up your volunteer base!

4. Get out. Get active.

Being a small organization with only a few full time staff can make it extremely difficult to get out into the community and connect with potential volunteers. There are certain things that your organization should make time for however. Whenever you see a local nonprofit fair happening in your community you should take the time to attend. Gaining name recognition with community members is huge when recruiting volunteers and raising dollars. These types of events are also great places to build relationships and partnerships with other organizations. As hard as it is to leave the office to staff a community booth, these events can truly be transformative for your organization and should be given priority. The best way to ensure that you can attend as many as possible is to get them on the calendar early and schedule staff to be there ahead of time!

5. Get buy in from the top down.

If your organization’s management team isn’t excited about bringing in more volunteers then nobody will be. Nonprofit professionals have enough to do without having to think about how a volunteer could help them. Even though it would be better for the organization in the long run, staff wont recruit volunteers without support from management. Talking about your organizations volunteer program at every staff meeting will reinforce that staff need to incorporate more volunteers into their work. Volunteers are a vital asset to any organization and management needs to realize and support that!

6. Take advantage of FirstLink’s Volunteer Management training!

FirstLink trains on topics such as volunteer recruitment, volunteer job descriptions, orientation and training, delegating to volunteers, supervising volunteers, volunteer recognition, risk management, interviewing volunteers, volunteer motivation, volunteer performance problems, program evaluation, mutual performance reviews, and MANY more! FirstLink can train one of your staff members for one hour on one topic, or we can train all of your staff all day on all topics! We can review your needs and design training specifically to meet your needs!

Contact David Vining at FirstLink if you would like to review your volunteer program’s needs. David can be reached by phone at 701-293-6462 or by email at



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