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Knowledge Base

Q:
Where can I learn more about recruiting and managing volunteers for my nonprofit?
A:

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 ServiceLeader.org:

  • 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

For more guidance and best practices, be sure to read ServiceLeader.org's section for leaders & managers.

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Podcast Aaron Hurst of the Taproot Foundation shares advice for making the most of the current volunteer workforce. Watch now »

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 Video Jeff Griffiths of HandsOn Northeast Ohio provides tips for effectively recruiting, managing, and retaining volunteers. Watch now

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. The Corporation for National and Community Service reports:

"The volunteer rate remained steady as 62.8 million Americans volunteered 7.9 billion hours last year. Based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour ($23.07 in 2014), the estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly$184 billion."

"Volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to charity as non-volunteers. Nearly 80% of volunteers donated to charity, compared to 40 percent of non-volunteers."

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?

More articles about nonprofit employment and volunteering»

Selected resources below may also help.

Web Sites

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Books and Articles

Check title availability at our libraries and Funding Information Network locations or your local libraries.

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