Amplifying the Volunteer Experience

  • Written by Julie Turner

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many nonprofits. But a number of nonprofits aren’t effectively capitalizing on one of their greatest assets. Here’s why.

Many nonprofits fill volunteer positions based on immediate needs such as the volunteer’s availability or a time-sensitive task that needs to be fulfilled. The job may be unloading donated supplies, working at a special event, or providing beautification or maintenance work at a facility. While these needs are clearly important, they are frequently projects than could be completed by wide pool of volunteers.

There’s a more strategic approach to volunteer management that considers the unique skills of a volunteer and how effectively his or her specialization can be deployed within the organization. In other words, the same volunteer you rely on to pack supply bags may possess professional expertise that’s sorely in demand within your organization.


Top Volunteer Services Needed by Nonprofits

  • Accounting & HR
  • Copywriting
  • Data Management
  • Research
  • Photography
  • Public Relations & Social Media
  • Translation Services
  • Web & Graphic Design

The departure from place-based management to one of talent-based management demands planning and deeper involvement on the side of nonprofits. It necessitates a second look at the volunteer workforce to identify not just who they are, but also where their strengths and interests lie.

It’s extra work that carries rewards on both sides of the equation.

Nonprofits gain access to professional skills pro bono in the areas of administration, technology, fundraising and more. They can tap into otherwise out-of-reach expertise, and keep donor dollars focused on direct services or care.

Even better, nonprofits that take a skills-based approach to volunteer management are enhancing the volunteer experience within their organization. By tapping into volunteers’ abilities and interests, highly skilled volunteers feel better utilized and more deeply engaged in a way that’s meaningful to them.

We’d love to know ways your nonprofit is putting volunteers’ talents and skills to use within your organization. Please share your experiences in the comments below.