Recruiting and managing volunteers effectively is similar to doing the same for employees. Things to consider include:

  • Organizational support, training, and preparation to involve volunteers
  • Developing and marketing volunteer opportunities
  • Screening and matching volunteers for your nonprofit's needs
  • Risk management and legal issues
  • Evaluation, record-keeping, and accountability
  • Recognition, retention, and motivation
  • Volunteer activism and advocacy

While this seems like much effort, nonprofits benefit from volunteers because they, according to the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service:

  • Help your organization meet its mission and better serve the community
  • Demonstrate community investment and endorsement
  • Help you reach new audiences and donors
  • Often become individual donors, or even staff
  • Can do things staff cannot do regarding public policy, like endorse your organization to public officials, in editorial pages, as well as comment publicly on legislation or political candidates (as long as they act as individuals, not representatives of your nonprofit)
  • May be preferred over staff by certain population groups you might serve

As nonprofit organizations strive to provide services on smaller budgets in the current economy, volunteers have become even more vital to their ability to meet their missions. AmeriCorps reports that in 2021, more than 60.7 million Americans volunteered for 4.1 billion hours of service, a contribution with an estimated economic value of $122.9 billion. More than 124.7 million Americans helped their neighbors in the height of the pandemic.

See also our related Knowledge Base articles:

- Where can I find or post volunteer opportunities?
- What is the monetary value of volunteer time?
- How can I learn about involving youth in volunteering and philanthropy?



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