Volunteers make up the core of so many of today’s non-profit organizations. In fact, according to recent reports, an estimated 85 percent of U.S. charities have few to no employees, making the need for high volumes of volunteers crucial to remain competitive.
While your volunteers help you work toward your mission, managing and tracking them can be an overwhelming, complex task. Luckily, a wide range of management tools are available today to help when it comes to organizing volunteer efforts within your non-profit organization.
For instance, the right volunteer tracking solution can help your non-profit ensure accountability. Most donors want to know that your organization is truly putting in the time to undertake what you say you will accomplish. With a smart tracking tool, you can better illustrate to donors where you and your team spend your hours.
Why Track Volunteer Time?
There are several advantages to using technology that automates the way you collect and track your valuable volunteer data. Here are four reasons why you might want to think about incorporating these tools into your organization’s operations:
By maintaining a current record of your volunteers, you can gain better insight about their personal passions, preferences, and talents. If volunteers have the chance to donate their spare time to interests they are enthusiastic about, they are more likely to participate and remain active. In fact, most Millennials that volunteer say they are more apt to volunteer if they can leverage their specific skills or personal expertise, according to a report from the Case Foundation.
Volunteer tracking not only helps you understand your volunteers’ interests, but it also gives you the ability to add them as supporters within your donor pipeline. As a result, you can present them with additional opportunities to support your work in ways well beyond one-and-done events or projects.
Boost Stewardship Efforts
It is important to preserve the positive, meaningful connections you have worked so hard to build with volunteers. Having data at your fingertips can make it easier for you to acknowledge and thank them quickly via emails, texts, or even social media posts.
Create Powerful Connections
An increasing number of today’s workforce in the for-profit space expect their employers to provide volunteering and giving programs. As such, more and more non-profit organizations realize that uniting with like-minded businesses can increase support. Many of the volunteer tracking tools available now allow organizations to connect with these companies offering volunteer opportunities to interested employees.
More Good Reasons to Track Volunteers
In some cases, prospective donors want information about what resources your organization already receives, and from whom. Many funders view volunteer efforts as a measure of effectiveness; so reporting volunteer contributions is often vital to secure funding.
Volunteer time also can help your non-profit meet requirements for matching funds. For example, certain grants specify that an organization must match a percentage of grant funds, and the value of volunteer time may qualify toward satisfaction of the match requirement.
Really Cool Features
The right technology can strongly impact your organization’s ability to engage with volunteers.
There are tons of available resources to help busy nonprofits with volunteer tracking and management. Much of this software can work in conjunction with your current CRM to help you store volunteer data and complete critical tasks.
Here are a few key features you can take advantage of with volunteer management technology:
Comprehensive volunteer profiles
It is essential to understand your volunteers’ personalities and needs. Volunteer tracking and management tools can help you keep thorough records of all volunteer data such as communication preferences, contact information, volunteer history, and relevant skills and interests.
You can more precisely capture and track volunteer activity. These tools also include analytics that will tell you how your activity has improved over time and give you insight in how you can improve your efforts.
You can automate and send individual or group emails via volunteer management technology tools. You also can segment your volunteer list so that only specific groups receive emails, like recent sign-ups, long-term volunteers, or even lapsed volunteers.
The Bottom Line
Approximately 26 percent of Americans today volunteer their time over the course of a year, according to a recent study published in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. How your organization recruits and maintains volunteers can make a significant difference in the overall success of your nonprofit.
Volunteer tracking and management tools can make the process easier. By taking advantage of the latest technology, you can improve your volunteer relationships, enhance your organization’s internal process, and, ultimately, convert more volunteers to donors.
Lisa C. Dunn is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com. She is a freelance writer, copywriter and ghostwriter who develops high-quality content for businesses and non-profit organizations. For over 20 years, she has worked with numerous PR and digital marketing agencies, and her work has been featured in well-known publications including Forbes, VentureBeat, Mashable, Huffington Post, Wired, B2C, USA Today, among others.