How can I use OrgSync as a community agency?
The Maroon Volunteer Center can provide a training for community partners on how to use OrgSync. Simply schedule an appointment with a staff member by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 662-325-2150. You can also visit OrgSync and create a new account by clicking on Not a Member? Register Now. From there you can follow the prompts and a member from the Maroon Volunteer Center will contact you when your organization has been approved.
Posting projects with the Maroon Volunteer Center is easy. You can either send a volunteer request form or a staff member can teach you how to use OrgSync as a community partner in an easy 30-minute training scheduled at your convenience.
The 3 R’s to Building a Successful Volunteer Program
When it comes to volunteerism, we do not believe it is necessary to “reinvent the wheel.” Based on best practices from other nonprofits and volunteer centers, your agency can create a successful volunteer program by simply remembering the 3 R’s: Recruit, Retain, & Recognize!
TWO TYPES OF VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT
- “Warm body” recruitment – A more foolproof source of volunteers
If you are doing a large one-time service project that requires little to no training or commitment, then you would need “warm body” recruitment. These volunteers are able to drop in, serve, and leave. These volunteers can usually come from the general public and the project does not require that the volunteers have any special skills or traits.
Examples of this include: one-time playground cleanup and volunteering at an annual weekend festival.
- Targeted recruitment – A source of more foolproof volunteers
If you are looking for more long-term, committed volunteers, then you would need targeted recruitment. These are the volunteers you need to take more time to recruit and train more in depth. They might special skills or traits more specific to the type of volunteer work. This type of volunteer recruitment usually takes longer to plan out and to implement, but it is well worth it to have dedicated and qualified volunteers to a long-term service project at your agency.
Examples of this include: mentoring at an after school program and volunteering in a weekly community garden.
HOW TO RECRUIT VOLUNTEERS
- Think about your target volunteer.
- What type of volunteer are you looking for? Do you need a certain age, special skill, etc.?
- “Volunteer” is not a positive word to everyone. Sometimes words like “volunteer” and “community service” conjure up images of forced, court-ordered roadside trash pickup. While many people enjoy volunteering and studies indicate that service has many benefits, many potential volunteers are not aware of this yet.
- Volunteer incentives, such as free food, t-shirts, or SWAG can help recruit volunteers, but the incentives you choose depend on the type of volunteer you need.
- Have a successful marketing campaign.
- The number one reason people volunteer is because they were asked!
- Traditional fliers hung up around town
- Ads in the newspaper
- Social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- Notify your local volunteer center of your upcoming project at least two weeks in advance to allow for ample time to recruit using that method.
TWO MAIN REASONS AGENCIES LOSE VOLUNTEERS
- They don’t feel appreciated.
- They don’t feel like it is a good use of their time.
HOW TO RETAIN VOLUNTEERS
- Volunteers need to feel that their skills are being used in a meaningful way.
- The place of service meets their skills and interests (not all accountants or nurses want to volunteer as accountants or nurses).
- Volunteer orientations are essential to every long-term volunteer program, because it creates “buy-in” for a volunteer who is not getting paid. Volunteer orientations should include at least: o A brief history of the organization o Explain the mission to the volunteers and how their volunteerism is tied into the mission. Even sweeping the floors can help an organization achieve its mission!
- “Responsible” vs. “Have to” – Remember – volunteers are giving of themselves to your organization, so it is always best to lean towards creating an environment that makes volunteers feel “responsible” for their volunteer efforts rather than feeling like they “have to.” They are more likely to respond if they know someone is relying on them rather than feeling like they have to be someone is making them.
Recognition is such a large factor in employee retention that it deserves its own section. When volunteers receive feedback and see how their efforts are making a difference, they are more likely to continue to stay dedicated with your agency.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE VOLUNTEERS
- Daily recognition can provide positive reinforcement to the regular volunteers at your organization.
- Say “Thank You” … Again, they are not free labor
- Daily or regular recognition gives your volunteers a reason to come back
- Treat them the same way as regular staff (within your limits, of course)
- Celebrate the volunteer’s anniversary with the organization
- Send an email or card thanking your volunteers (if ongoing) when they join
- Send an email saying thank you and include a survey (their feedback is valued)
- Intermittent recognition can make a volunteer feel special and valued at your organization.
- Nominate them as Volunteer Superstars with Volunteer Starkville.
- Send their information to local news outlets. Starkville Daily News has a weekly piece about community members who make a difference.
- Create a Volunteer of the Month/Year/Etc. program and highlight their good works within your organization.
- Give them more responsibilities. Remember, volunteers need to feel responsible.
- Significant recognition can make a volunteer feel like an essential part of your organization, which they are!
- Make special t-shirts or plaques or other tangible items.
- Offer tuition assistance.
- Involve them in the planning process.