Don’t Leave Your Volunteers in the Dark

What would you do if suddenly you found yourself surrounded by enthusiastic, talented, well-connected individuals ready to volunteer with your nonprofit and help you reach all your goals? Can you hear their voices clamoring, “just tell me what you need, and I’ll make it happen!” Could you respond, or would you find yourself saying, “let me get back to you.” We have the proactive answer that can put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to engaging and managing volunteers. It’s the volunteer handbook.

When you have a volunteer handbook everyone in your organization has access to one source of information that shares everything a volunteer needs to know. This handbook provides new – or potential – volunteers with a roadmap for how to become involved and what to expect. When your volunteers know the ABCs of your organization, they can be more effective and feel a part of what’s going on.

Your volunteer handbook starts with the obvious: a welcome message from the organization’s leadership and a brief description of what your organization does. Brag a little – share what you’re well known for and what makes you unique. Include your mission, vision, and values. List each of your programs with a short description and an impact statement.

The heart of the handbook shares information about the kinds of volunteers your organization is looking for. Do you need scientists to mentor high school honor students? Do you need licensed bus drivers? What about college recruiters? Museum docents? Community organizers? Writers, designers, editors? Board members? (Yes, board members are volunteers!) Make a list of all volunteer opportunities available, adding short descriptions of the responsibilities and qualifications for each.

You also want to include frequently asked questions with answers. Share engaging photos that bring your nonprofit’s work to life: spread these throughout the handbook to keep the reader awake!  Make sure your handbook contains a calendar with important dates and event listings. You’ll also want a few pages with facts and figures related to your organization and its work; a list of board members with their affiliations; and information about fundraising goals and ways to give.

As a nonprofit it is critical that everyone knows you depend on gifts and grants to do your work, and that you need fundraising volunteers to help raise the money you need. That means sharing summary financial information such as revenue and expenses, your fundraising priorities, and how much you need to raise for each priority. If you offer donors specific benefits, list these. And don’t forget information on how to give! You may want to include a mini case for support and an elevator speech – 30 seconds on who your organization is and its impact. Finally, don’t forget accurate contact information.

Add a QR code, upload it to your website and let people know you are looking for volunteers. Your handbook is the ideal tool for welcoming and onboarding volunteers. Creating one is a project that pays dividends.

Don’t forget:

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Copyright 2023 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Let us help you plan for 2023! Video and phone conferencing services are always available. Call us at (901) 522-8727.

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