Managing your volunteers comes with several challenges. You need to keep track of who’s doing what, assign appropriate projects to the right people, and monitor several other moving parts. Part of your volunteer management is also about making sure your staff and your volunteers are in alignment. This can make your volunteer management process a bit difficult to navigate.
However, at the core of your success lies your registration process. After you’ve drafted that awesome volunteer job description, you’ll start getting a lot of applicants to go through. But how can you efficiently keep track of everything?
Employing the right application process can provide a great solution. You’ll be able to gather information from your potential volunteers and use it to select individuals. You’ll also have the information handy for other uses.
In this article, we’ll discuss these registration tips that can make your volunteer management process run smoothly:
- Customizable applications
- Necessary questions
- Group registration
- Data analysis
- Volunteer grants
Your volunteer management can become a lot easier to maintain if you incorporate the right resources for your organization. Are you ready to take a look at these strategies? Let’s get started!
1. Customize Your Volunteer Application
As mentioned earlier, managing volunteers starts with your registration process. In order to easily gather the information you want from volunteer applications, you should consider automating your entire system.
Selecting your target volunteer audience and getting the word out should be the top items on your checklist, but once you’re ready to take applications, look into online forms using registration software.
Online registration has increased in popularity due to its convenience and ease of use. Immediately send entire applications with the click of a button. With registration software, you can go further and customize your volunteer application to your exact needs.
Look for these capabilities when using online registration software:
- The software should give you customizable options so you only ask the questions you need to on the form.
- The form should be embedded on your website so that applicants know they’re giving their information to you and not anyone else. This also establishes a sense of consistency with the rest of your website, both in flow for the applicant and in branding.
- The software should offer reporting tools so you can easily search through your data and pinpoint the information that you need.
Customizing your application gives you the flexibility and convenience that you want. You’ll be able to view reports of everyone who has applied and even filter information to certain pieces of data that you’re looking for. This way, you’ll be able to efficiently sort through your applications.
2. Ask for Only What You Need from Volunteers
Even with the convenience of customizing your form, there are still a few factors to keep in mind when building fields and choosing questions.
It’s important to ask for only the information that you need. After all, pages and pages of volunteer application forms might cause potential volunteers to abandon the form, and it would be a lot of information for you to sift through as well.
Stick to the pertinent application questions, such as:
- Professional history
- Contact information
Certain age groups may volunteer more or less often, and people with certain skills might be more interested in one type of opportunity over another. That’s why it’s essential that you gather exactly the information you need.
If you’re offering incentives to volunteers, such as matching t-shirts or other items, you can also ask for their t-shirt sizes and other preferences. However, you should limit these extra fields as much as possible overall.
By asking for what you need, you’ll be able to gather the information necessary to choose volunteers and match them to projects. However, you won’t become overwhelmed with too much information to sort through, and applicants will have a positive experience with the form.
3. Allow Group Volunteer Registration
For volunteer applications that might not require as much extra information, there are other benefits to offering online registration. Finding volunteers can be a challenge, so if you allow one person to register multiple people either as a company/group or as a family, you’ll be able to attract more volunteers all at once.
According to Double the Donation, 67% of donors worldwide also volunteer in their local communities. If you make it easier to volunteer by offering group registration, you’ll be likelier to tap into that percentage of people and gain some really great volunteers!
Group registration can go a long way in terms of convenience, so offering this option can increase your applicant pool substantially. You’ll also have access to larger groups of volunteers if you encounter a last-minute need for help.
4. Use Data for Volunteer Management
When it comes to volunteers, recruiting can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to make sure the registration process fits your organization’s needs. This is where using the data you receive from applications comes into play. If you use your data effectively, you’ll be able to narrow your applicant pool to the individuals you’re most interested in as well as perform other needed tasks. This is also a great way to find volunteers who can work well with your staff.
In order to use your data successfully, consider the following strategies:
- Collect the data you need. As mentioned before, it’s important to ask for what you need so you can gather necessary information to sift through different volunteers and determine what their experience would bring to the table. This is so you’ll be able to align volunteers with appropriate opportunities within your organization.The great thing about having an automated process is that you can streamline your questions and get exactly what you need. Using software also means you’ll have access to professional project managers who can set up the system the way you need it and make sure your forms are easy to understand.
- Use filtering tools. Use filtering tools in your registration software to sort through applicants who have the skills you’re looking for. Be sure to ask for the data you’ll need in order to run these reports from the beginning. Keeping your reporting needs in mind when creating your registration process will ensure you get what you need to work with later on.
Online registration systems give you access to a lot of data you can put to good use. You’ll be able to match volunteers to opportunities within your organization where they would thrive, and you’ll be able to keep track of all their information within one system. While recruiting can come with headaches, it’s important to find the right tools to alleviate some of those challenges.
5. Personalize Your Volunteer Communication
When recruiting volunteers and taking applications, it’s important to demonstrate why your organization is a great place to volunteer for and also highlight what volunteers can gain from committing their time.
This can be achieved through your communication strategy. Try out these tips:
- Personalize everything. When you want to contact applicants, be sure to reach out in a personalized manner. Address them by name, rather than “Dear Applicant,” and even point out their skills that you think would benefit your organization.
- Automate your communication. Use an automatic communication system, which may even be part of your registration system. This will allow you to filter the applicants you want to contact and send out personalized emails.
- Segment your volunteer lists. Once you have an established volunteer base, segment your list so only certain groups of volunteers receive certain emails. Make sure they only receive what’s relevant to them. This is also useful if you’re reaching out to lapsed volunteers that you want to form a relationship with again.
Personalization goes a long way. Potential volunteers want to feel valued for the skills they bring to the table and they also want to help a great cause. Encourage them to join your organization by highlighting what you do and how you think they can help.
6. Promote Volunteer Grants During Registration
An individual’s time and effort are just as important as monetary donations. But what if you could get both?
Volunteer grants are corporate giving programs that encourage volunteerism. Companies will provide monetary grants to organizations where their employees regularly volunteer (learn more about the basics here).
If an individual volunteers regularly, their company may donate based on the amount of hours they commit to your organization. This could be the extra push someone needs if they’re trying to decide whether they should volunteer. 360MatchPro offers more information on top companies that offer volunteer grants.
By promoting volunteer grants during your registration process, you’ll encourage more applications from those who want to offer more than just their time.
Volunteer management can be a challenge, but if you choose the right tools and resources that suit your organization and your staff’s needs, your process will become a lot easier to navigate. From there, you’ll be able to recruit volunteers who can drive your goals forward and bring value to the table.
Once they join and begin volunteering, volunteers may also speak highly of their experience, encouraging other great candidates to also apply.
Try incorporating these strategies and witness the impact they can make!
This is a guest post by Regpacks.com