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3 Common Volunteer Management Challenges & How to Make Them Easier

Volunteer management can feel like a constant challenge. While there are no magic solutions to ensuring you always have enough qualified, motivated volunteers for your organization’s needs, there are several ways you can make your volunteer recruiting, training, and retention efforts an easier part of your routine.

By implementing these top volunteer management techniques and pro tips, you’ll put yourself in the best position possible to deliver mutually enriching experiences for your volunteer talent and the full-time staff collaborating with them on a regular basis.

Volunteer recruitment for nonprofits

No matter how well known your organization’s brand is — or how devoted your supporters are — any number of logistical issues can stand between you and maintaining the volunteer headcount you need to get things done.

For many nonprofits, the initial solution for dealing with the challenge of volunteer recruitment is through increased marketing efforts, either through advertising their need for volunteers more frequently, across more channels, or with different messaging or calls to action.

Broad targeting has value for creating general awareness and attracting a wide range of potential volunteers. But with LinkedIn, you have more direct options as well.

Pro tip: Reach out to new volunteer prospects directly on LinkedIn via LinkedIn Recruiter

LinkedIn Recruiter is designed to help employers find the right talent for the role they’re looking to hire for by allowing them to search for LinkedIn members with specific skills and experience. Nonprofits can also use LinkedIn Recruiter’s features to find skilled volunteers.

Use LinkedIn Recruiter to filter your searches by previous professional experience, skill sets, location, and more. You can even save time and find more prospective volunteer candidates using the “Find more people like this” search feature.

When you’ve found candidates that are right for your volunteer opportunity, use LinkedIn Recruiter to reach out to them directly via a personalized LinkedIn InMail messages. InMails sent via Recruiter tend to have a much higher response rate than emails or cold calls.

Volunteer retention for nonprofits

Your volunteers lead busy lives. Some might donate their time once or twice, while others may only have the capacity to help out every so often.

Nonprofits can help retain current and new volunteers by fostering a sense of loyalty and engagement at every opportunity. You might do this by inviting volunteers to sign up for a newsletter or update emails, sending them physical mail, or even calling them for pledge drives.

These solutions can fall short in some areas, though. They’re relatively impersonal, everyone else is doing them, and if you reach out too often, your volunteers could get used to ignoring you.

Pro tip: Foster ongoing relationships on social media through content

Developing relationships with your volunteers through social media solves some of the problems with traditional retention techniques, especially if you use content that resonates directly with your volunteer base. Ideas might include:

  • Publishing a “thank you” post after volunteer functions and tagging the volunteers who helped.

  • Taking pictures during events and then asking volunteers’ permission to include them in a recap post on your nonprofit’s LinkedIn Page. 

  • Interviewing your volunteers about why they believe in your mission and want to help, and then posting these short interviews regularly on your Page. 

Volunteer appreciation posts offer recognition to your current volunteers while making an impression on potential recruits. Develop an understanding of what your volunteer base cares about, then use that understanding to create an ongoing content strategy that speaks directly to those values and interests. If volunteers comment on or share your nonprofit’s posts, respond to them to start a conversation and keep them engaged.

LinkedIn post featuring an illustration of a volunteer speaking with a member of the public at an information booth. Heart, celebrate, and like emojis are rising up from the post.

Volunteer onboarding and training for nonprofits

Many nonprofits find their ability to provide more than one-off volunteer onboarding and training hampered by a lack of time and resources. This could be a problem for some volunteers who are looking for more support or even seeking skill development opportunities from the volunteer positions they take on.

Pro tip: Train and develop volunteers using LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is a skill development platform that connects your employees and volunteers to thousands of high-quality professional development courses, available on demand. Organizations that use LinkedIn Learning can even upload their own training videos, documents, and links, and create custom Learning Paths with recommended courses to set their volunteers up for success.

Giving volunteers access to LinkedIn Learning empowers them to keep learning and developing the skills they’re leveraging during their volunteering, while also providing a huge variety of other learning opportunities in the process. This is a great, scalable way to give back to your volunteers to thank them for their help — and to provide an incentive to keep them coming back.

For more tips on how to boost your volunteer management efforts, keep up with the LinkedIn for Nonprofits blog.