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ASU Lodestar Center Blog

13 Tips For a Nonprofit to Effectively Manage Volunteers

Nonprofit organizations rely on a strong base of volunteers. Getting people behind a cause is not particularly difficult, but learning to harness the energy of your nonprofit’s mission can take some work. The following tips will help you gain, manage and inspire volunteers for any nonprofit. 

1. Follow-Through: 
When someone expresses interest in volunteering for your organization, make sure that it is followed-through with immediately by you or a member of your staff. Urge the person along by either email or calling them a.s.a.p. If they don’t get back to you within a week, call to re-express your need for their time.

2. Shower Volunteers with Recognition:
You basically cannot say thank you enough to volunteers. Let them know often how much you appreciate them putting in their time and effort towards progressing the mission of your nonprofit.

3. Discuss How Their Contribution Helps:
Often volunteers may feel jaded that their efforts aren’t making much of a difference. Let them know exactly what their contribution does for your organization.  

4. Know What Volunteers You Need:

To get the most out of your volunteers, make sure to know what type of volunteer services you need to achieve the long and short term goals for your nonprofit.

5. Coincide the Program’s Mission with the Volunteer Opportunities:

Try to make your organization’s volunteer opportunities fit in the same niche as the nonprofit. This makes it easier to volunteers to find their way to you.

6. Ask Everyone and Anyone:

Most people want to contribute in some meaningful way, but sometimes they just need a push in the right direction. Do not be afraid to ask anyone if they’d want to give some time, because even If they have no interest they may know someone who does.

7. Quality Over Quantity:

If you are looking for a particular skill set be sure to wait it out and make sure you bring the right volunteers on board. There is no point in getting a bunch of volunteers who can’t get the job you need done. 

8. Offer Different Times and Locations:

Do not let logistics be a barrier for someone who wants to help. Offer off-hours and remote opportunities to try to draw in people who may not be able to help during conventional hours.  

 9. Make Sure Staff Knows How to Deal with Volunteers:

Take the time to train your staff to deal with managing volunteers. Often a staff member will not be used to managing others, so they will not know what exactly to do with people who come in to volunteer.

10. Nip Any Drama in the Bud:

Conflict between staff and volunteers can cause people to quit. Make sure that there is a clear no-drama allowed policy.

11. When Possible Reward Volunteers:

If you have any extra resources available, try to extend some to your volunteers. Even if you can’t offer them compensation try and find other creative ways to reward them for their efforts.  

12. Provide Resources:

Offer the supplies needed for the volunteer to do their job. Ask them what they need to be able to do their job more effectively.  

13. Celebrate Success:

Take the time to celebrate the success of your volunteers. Most nonprofits wouldn’t be able to exist without the generosity of others, so celebrating milestones is a good way to give back.


ASU Lodestar Center Blog