Learn what volunteer grants are, how your nonprofit can benefit, and how to secure them in this guide.

Corporate Volunteer Grants: The Basics & How to Secure Them

As a nonprofit professional, you know that every extra dollar helps get you closer to meeting your goals. Putting a dedicated strategy in place to secure volunteer grants can lead to a boost in funding and volunteers for your nonprofit.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to walk you through everything you need to know about volunteer grants. We’ll cover the following:

If you’re not familiar with volunteer grants or you don’t know how to maximize revenue from this channel, look no further! Let’s dive right in by answering your frequently asked questions!

Click this image to get a free consultation with Getting Attention and find out how Google Ads can help you secure more volunteer grants.

Volunteer Grant FAQs

It can be challenging to understand the nuances of volunteer grants if you’ve never heard of them before. We’ve broken down the basics:

What are volunteer grants?

This image and the text below define volunteer grants as monetary donations companies give to nonprofits where employees volunteer.

Volunteer grants are a type of corporate giving program in which employers provide monetary grants to organizations where their employees volunteer on a regular basis. These programs are also known as Dollars for Doers, Dollar for Hour, matching time, and Grants for Time programs.

For example, if your nonprofit has a dedicated volunteer who devotes 15 hours a week to your organization and their company offers volunteer grants, the company will pay you for those hours. And it doesn’t have to be 15 hours a week! Many companies have different hour requirements that can be met over a specified period of time. 

What are the benefits of volunteer grants?

The main draw of volunteer grants is getting extra funding for your organization at no cost to supporters. Beyond that, volunteer grants have benefits for everyone involved in the process:

  • Individual volunteers get to make an even bigger impact with the hours they give to your nonprofit. They already care about your mission and purpose; now they get to give you twice the support through one avenue.
  • Companies that offer volunteer grants benefit from maintaining a positive public image. This positive reputation also means their consumers and employees will be happier to work with them.
  • Nonprofits benefit by building stronger relationships with both companies and volunteers. Your volunteers know the impact they’re making and will want to keep working with your organization. And company relationships could turn into sponsorships or other regular programs!

Some companies even offer team volunteer grants, where groups of employees from the same company can volunteer together at a nonprofit, and they can get a grant for that, too!

Why do businesses offer volunteer grants?

Nonprofit organizations usually rely on companies their supporters work for to already have corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs like volunteer grants in place. However, by understanding why businesses might offer a volunteer grant program and researching businesses your supporters work at, you or your donors may be able to persuade certain companies to start a new CSR initiative. 

As mentioned, businesses also benefit from volunteer grants thanks to the positive reputation boost working with nonprofits gives them. However, they only gain this benefit if both the business and the nonprofit publicize their connection. While it’s up to businesses how they promote their volunteer grant program to employees, make sure your nonprofit holds up its end of the bargain by letting eligible supporters know about volunteer grants and thanking businesses when they donate to you.

Reports show that employees who work at organizations with volunteer programs are five times more engaged than those who don’t. When pitching a volunteer grant program to businesses, emphasize statistics like this and how they can lead to improved business outcomes, such as increased productivity and retention. 

Additionally, remain open to other types of corporate volunteerism. For example, some businesses arrange organized corporate volunteer groups, which serve as teambuilding activities for their employees while also providing your nonprofit with extra hands to help with your ongoing programs.

Are volunteer grants common?

Yes! We’ve pulled together some key statistics from Double the Donation that demonstrate how common, and important, these programs actually are:

These statistics show how prevalent and impactful volunteer grants are for corporations and nonprofits.

  • 40% of Fortune 500 companies offer volunteer grant programs. There are plenty of other businesses and corporations that offer some sort of volunteer grant program, too.
  • 80% of companies with volunteer grant programs give between $8-$15 per volunteer hour. Those dollars add up! If you have a dedicated group of volunteers, those accumulated hours can offer you a nice sum.
  • The average corporate volunteer participation rate is 33%. About a third of eligible employees currently take advantage of volunteer grants, and nonprofits are working to increase this number by effectively marketing their volunteer programs.

From these statistics, it’s clear that there are plenty of volunteer grants your organization and your supporters can take advantage of. 

How to Get Volunteer Grants for Your Nonprofit

To secure volunteer grants, you first need to understand how the full process works. From your nonprofit’s perspective, it happens in four steps:

This image and the text below explain the volunteer grants process from a nonprofit’s perspective.

  1. An individual volunteers with your nonprofit. This can include performing office-related tasks, volunteering virtually, or any other roles your organization offers.
  2. That individual looks up their eligibility for a volunteer grant from their employer. If they’re eligible, they’ll submit a request to their company for the grant.
  3. The employer looks over the application and confirms eligibility.
  4. Once the company has verified the hours with your nonprofit, your organization gets a check!

Companies’ volunteer grant requirements vary, but there’s generally a minimum number of hours that must be volunteered to qualify for a grant. The company will then either pay by the hour or provide a set amount once a threshold has been met. For example, some companies pay $25 per volunteer hour, while others pay a flat $500 after 40 hours have been contributed.

It’s easy to let this opportunity fall to the wayside when you’ve got dozens of other things on your plate. But most volunteers don’t even know whether they’re eligible or how to check, so it’s crucial to market the opportunity.

Best Practices for Securing Volunteer Grants

How do you get the word out about this mutually beneficial opportunity? Just follow these three best practices:

1. Market volunteer grants to your supporters

You can’t secure volunteer grants if your supporters don’t know what they are or how to request them. That’s why it’s crucial to create a marketing plan that promotes the opportunity across communication channels. 

As you develop your plan, consider implementing these strategies:

  • Create a page on your website that explains the volunteer grant process and how to make a request.
  • Launch a social media campaign that educates donors on volunteer grant basics and encourages them to check their eligibility.
  • Highlight volunteers and companies who contribute volunteer grants in your monthly newsletter.

Once you’ve created some basic volunteer grant marketing materials on your website, you can really expand your reach by leveraging the Google Ad Grant. The Google Ad Grants program provides eligible nonprofits with $10,000 a month in credits to spend on Google search ads. 

Through the Google Ad Grant program, your organization can create ads that show up at the top of Google search results pages for relevant terms, like “volunteer opportunities near me” or “animal shelter volunteering.” Highlight volunteer grants in these ads, and you’ll promote the opportunity to a whole new audience of potentially interested volunteers! 

Having the right promotion is vital to securing volunteer grants. Click through to get more marketing tips in your inbox.

2. Offer a variety of volunteer opportunities

Another key aspect of securing volunteer grants is ensuring you have enough relevant volunteer activities to interest your supporters. Consider creating various ways to get involved, such as numerous different activities or program formats. 

For example, plan group community service projects or create volunteer teams for your events. This will boost the number of volunteers you get from a company, increase the grant money you receive, and build a long-term relationship with the company they came from.

3. Use a volunteer grant database

Help volunteers quickly determine their eligibility by investing in matching gift software that includes a volunteer grant database. With this software, you’ll get easy access to a database of thousands of corporate volunteer grant programs. 

Plus, this software comes with search tools you can embed anywhere on your website, so when volunteers type in the name of their employer, they’ll immediately see their volunteer grant guidelines. Here’s an example of how simple and intuitive these search tools are:

This is an example of Double the Donation’s volunteer grants search tool.

Examples of Top Companies with Volunteer Grant Programs

To give you an idea of how much businesses put toward corporate philanthropy, take a look at some of the top companies with volunteer grant programs.

Verizon’s Volunteer Grant Program

This graphic and the text below give details of Verizon’s volunteer grants program.

Verizon offers a Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP), which awards $750 to an organization after an employee volunteers 50 hours with that organization. Even better, Verizon employees can request up to two of these grants per year.

Microsoft’s Volunteer Grant Program

This image explains that Microsoft offers volunteer grants of $25 per hour with no minimum hours required.

Microsoft has a generous volunteer grant program with no minimum hours required. Microsoft employees can earn $25 per hour they commit to a nonprofit. Last year, almost 30,000 employees took advantage of this program and volunteered over 720,000 hours in total.

ExxonMobil’s Volunteer Grant Program

This image explains that ExxonMobil’s volunteer grants program offers grants of $500 for a minimum of 20 volunteer hours.

ExxonMobil has multiple volunteer grant programs: an individual volunteer grant program where employees can get a $500 grant after volunteering 20 hours with an organization and team volunteer grant opportunities for groups of five or more.

Additional Volunteer Grant Resources

Tapping into volunteer grants doesn’t have to be daunting. The more knowledge you equip your team with, the more successful you’ll be. 

We hope this guide has helped your organization realize all the untapped volunteer grant opportunities you can benefit from! If you want to continue your research, we’ve handpicked some great resources to get you started:

Click through to set up a free consultation with Getting Attention and learn how the Google Ad Grant can help you promote volunteer grants.

Learn how to recruit volunteers by exploring the impactful volunteer recruitment strategies in this guide.

A Smart Guide to Volunteer Recruitment: 16 Proven Strategies

Nonprofits of all shapes and sizes rely on volunteers to continue fulfilling their mission day after day. Whether they’re helping shelter animals find their forever homes or setting up fundraising events, volunteers provide their time and skills to amplify your organization’s impact.

In its latest Value of Volunteer Time report, Independent Sector estimates that each U.S. volunteer’s hour is worth $31.80. To secure such valuable support for your nonprofit, however, you’ll need a clear strategy for how to recruit volunteers.

In this guide, we’ll walk through the fundamentals of volunteer recruitment and provide 16 effective strategies to boost your results:

With the right approach, you’ll be able to recruit dedicated supporters to further your mission. Let’s get started!

Click through to learn how Getting Attention can help boost your volunteer recruitment with $10,000 a month of free advertising from Google.

Volunteer Recruitment: FAQs

Before your organization starts crafting its own volunteer recruitment plan, it’s essential to first understand the basics of the process. Let’s explore a few frequently asked questions to break down how to recruit volunteers for your nonprofit.

What is volunteer recruitment?

Volunteer recruitment is the process of attracting new volunteers to support your nonprofit’s work in a variety of ways, from fundraising to advocating for your causeSince there are so many organizations calling for volunteers in emails, social media posts, and even text messages, it’s critical to figure out how you’ll stand out from the crowd.

The ideal candidates for your nonprofit’s volunteer program are passionate about your mission and committed to making a difference in the lives of those you serve. By optimizing your volunteer recruitment efforts, you’ll be able to build a strong volunteer base to power your organization’s impact.

Why is volunteer recruitment important?

Volunteers are vital to your nonprofit’s ability to fulfill its mission. Therefore, volunteer recruitment is crucial for acquiring the support that will ensure your long-term success. Most notably, volunteers benefit your organization by:

Volunteer recruitment is essential to your nonprofit’s long-term success for the reasons described below.

  • Keeping it running. By offering their time and skills for free, your committed volunteers provide a significant resource that helps your nonprofit move forward with its mission.
  • Increasing your donation revenue. Volunteers can not only spread the word about your nonprofit’s mission to their personal networks, but they can also become donors themselves due to their dedication to your cause.
  • Saving you money. AmeriCorps found that, between September 2020 and 2021, “volunteers served an estimated 4.1 billion hours with an economic value of $122.9 billion.” Since time is money, free support from volunteers can go a long way toward reducing your nonprofit’s administrative and operational expenses.

Take a look at your nonprofit’s current state and evaluate how volunteers are facilitating or enhancing your results. These insights can guide you in determining how to recruit more volunteers for your organization.

Do I need a volunteer recruitment plan?

A volunteer recruitment plan is critical to securing as much support for your nonprofit as possible. After all, 72% of volunteers are involved with only one organization, while just 18.3% volunteer with two.

Having an organized, evidence-based approach to recruiting volunteers ensures that you catch the attention of potential supporters and inspire them to get involved.

How to Recruit Volunteers: 5 Steps

Fortunately, it only takes five steps to craft a successful volunteer recruitment plan:

Follow these steps to create a volunteer recruitment plan, detailed below.

1. Reevaluate your current volunteer program.

Start by inspecting your current volunteer program. In order to motivate people to join, your program must:

  • Be engaging. Is your volunteer program interactive? Are there opportunities to connect with staff and other volunteers? Your volunteers should be able to get up close and personal with your nonprofit’s work so that they can feel like they’re making a real difference in their community.
  • Emphasize impact. Make sure your volunteers understand exactly how they’re contributing to your nonprofit’s impact. The more they feel like they’re making a positive difference, the more likely they are to stay invested in volunteering.
  • Factor in appreciation. It’s important to have plans in place to make your volunteers feel valued. There are many ways to express your nonprofit’s gratitude, including a thank-you email, e-Card, a social media shoutout, or even a handwritten letter.

While you can evaluate your current volunteer program on your own, consider surveying your existing volunteers as well. They have firsthand experience with your program and may provide a useful outside perspective. Plus, asking your volunteers for feedback demonstrates that you care about their opinions and preferences.

2. Identify your volunteer needs.

After you’ve determined your volunteer program’s strengths and areas for improvement, it’s time to identify the types of volunteers you need most. Use these questions to guide you:

  • What type of organization are we? Many people choose to volunteer for organizations that align with their interests, skills, and passions. Reflecting upon your nonprofit and its mission allows you to appeal to individuals who are most likely to contribute to your cause.
  • What type of volunteer program do we offer? There are various types of nonprofit volunteer programs, including formal, non-formal, and project-based. Defining this upfront ensures that you can focus on attracting supporters who will be interested in your specific type of program.
  • How many people do we need? Do you need one person to volunteer regularly? 10 people to volunteer every week in shifts? 100 volunteers for a specific event? The number of volunteers each organization needs will differ, so determine what suits your nonprofit best.

Identify what sets your volunteer program apart from others, and highlight these differences in your nonprofit communications to attract the most suitable volunteer candidates.

3. Enlist your current volunteers.

Your nonprofit’s most dedicated volunteers can be an excellent volunteer recruitment tool. Encourage them to reach out to like-minded friends and family members about joining your volunteer program. You can even invite them to bring someone along to their next volunteer shift to show them the ropes and spark their interest.

Consider offering benefits such as free branded merchandise or social media shoutouts to further incentivize your current volunteers to spread the word. This will not only bolster your recruitment efforts but also help you retain more supporters in the long run.

4. Create specific job descriptions.

The success of your nonprofit’s volunteer program depends on how well you communicate with volunteers. Therefore, when recruiting volunteers, it’s essential to get specific with the job description you create for each role. This way, you’ll be able to find volunteers with the right skillsets, and those who are interested in volunteering can easily determine whether a role is suitable for them.

Some popular volunteer roles may deal with:

  • Graphic design
  • Photography
  • Writing
  • Translation
  • Event check-in
  • Event planning
  • Event setup and cleanup
  • Fundraising

Be sure to include the relevant skills for each volunteer role to maximize your recruitment effort and narrow down candidates to the best fit. Potential volunteers will also want to know important details such as the role’s time commitment, duties, and any associated benefits in advance. Use the template below to hit the ground running with well-written volunteer job descriptions for your nonprofit.

Use this volunteer job description to guide your volunteer recruitment efforts.

5. Determine your recruitment strategies.

Once you’ve solidified your volunteer program’s needs and identified the specific roles you’re looking for, you’re ready to start implementing recruitment strategies to secure new support for your nonprofit.

While there are numerous strategies for how to recruit volunteers, the ones you choose to focus on will depend upon your organization’s unique goals and resources. Let’s explore 16 impactful volunteer recruitment strategies to consider.

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16 Volunteer Recruitment Strategies for Success

Use these volunteer recruitment strategies as a jumping-off point for your nonprofit:

1. Leverage social media.

Social media is a powerful and cost-effective way to reach a broader audience. Get creative with your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages to show potential volunteers how rewarding it is to support your organization.

For instance, you can promote your volunteer program on social media by:

  • Going “behind the scenes.” Share videos or images that offer a glimpse into your nonprofit’s on-the-ground impact to show potential supporters the meaningful work they can participate in as a volunteer.
  • Posting volunteer testimonials. Capture some compelling action shots of your volunteers and ask them to provide a quote about why they love what they do. Then, with their permission, share their picture and quote on social media to inspire others to volunteer.
  • Letting volunteers do an account “takeover.” This allows potential supporters to learn more about a day in the life of one of your volunteers and how important their contributions are to your overall impact.
  • Creating social media ads. By investing in a paid volunteer recruitment ad campaign, you can target more people who are likely to be interested in your nonprofit’s opportunities by focusing on characteristics such as location, interests, and connections.

With 4.76 billion social media users worldwide, sharing your volunteer opportunities on these platforms can not only recruit more support for your nonprofit but increase your brand awareness as well. Be sure to include a link to your volunteer application form on each of your posts to make it easy for inspired users to get involved.

2. Advertise volunteer opportunities online.

By advertising your nonprofit’s volunteer opportunities online, you ensure that potential volunteers can learn about your open positions and explore all the relevant details to start contributing.

The Google Ad Grants program provides an impactful, cost-effective way for nonprofits to advertise their volunteer opportunities. This program awards eligible nonprofits $10,000 a month in ad credits, which they can spend on relevant keywords. Then, they can create text-based ads to promote their content at the top of Google’s search results.

A link to The Nature Conservancy’s volunteer page, for instance, pops up in the search results when a user searches “nature volunteering,” directing those who are interested to learn more about getting involved.

The Nature Conservancy demonstrates how nonprofits can use Google ads to boost their volunteer recruitment efforts.

Your nonprofit can take a similar approach to volunteer recruitment, using this grant to target potential volunteers with advertisements of your open positions or volunteer page.

If you’re interested in getting started with the Google Ad Grant program and maximizing your results, consider partnering with a certified agency, like Getting Attention. We’ll determine your eligibility for the program, handle your application, and craft a winning strategy to help your organization secure more support—so you can focus on generating a greater impact on those you serve.

Click through to learn how Getting Attention can help boost your volunteer recruitment with $10,000 a month of free advertising from Google.

3. Approach recent donors.

Your nonprofit’s donors have already demonstrated an investment in your mission by making a gift to your organization. When you follow up with first-time donors and thank them for their contribution, be sure to let them know about other ways to get involved, such as volunteering. One-time donors who may not have the financial means to donate consistently may prefer giving their time instead.

AmeriCorps notes that, behind teenagers, people between the ages of 45 to 54 have the highest formal volunteering rate. With this in mind, consider segmenting your donor database and reaching out to this group, among others, who would be most likely to participate in a volunteer program.

4. Cultivate corporate partnerships.

Corporate philanthropy is another excellent avenue for volunteer recruitment. By reaching out and nurturing relationships with businesses, you’re opening the door for them to support your nonprofit in a number of ways. For example, they may encourage their employees to volunteer with your organization.

Additionally, businesses may provide support to your organization through volunteer grants. With 40% of Fortune 500 companies offering these programs, this can be a significant opportunity to promote to current and potential volunteers for your nonprofit. Here’s how these programs work:

Promote volunteer grants in your volunteer recruitment efforts to encourage more people to get involved.

When an individual volunteers regularly with your organization, they can check with their employer to see if they’re eligible for a volunteer grant. If they are, they can submit an application and, upon approval, the company contributes a specific donation amount to your nonprofit.

To learn about potential volunteer grants your volunteers may be eligible for, consider appending employer data to store crucial information such as a supporter’s employer and job title. Then, reach out to notify them about this opportunity to increase their impact.

5. Establish a school partnership.

Over one in four college students and teenagers volunteer with nonprofits. Reach out to local middle schools, high schools, and colleges to recruit these young supporters for your organization.

Partnering with schools can be effective for volunteer recruitment since over one in four college students and teenagers volunteer.

Many schools promote volunteering by offering awards to those who reach a certain amount of service hours. Volunteering also allows students to build their resumes for college and job applications, make valuable connections, and develop leadership and teamwork skills.

To spread the word, ask schools to post flyers about your volunteer program, include a pitch for it in their email newsletter, or even set up a time for representatives from your nonprofit to visit classes and encourage students to get involved.

6. Build relationships with other nonprofit clubs and organizations.

There are plenty of community service-driven clubs and organizations with members more than willing to get involved in your work. The key to recruiting more supporters is to find those who are already likely to be passionate about your mission. Reach out to your local Kiwanis Club or Lions Club to see if they’re willing to circulate your volunteer opportunities among their members.

Additionally, consider local churches in your area. Be sure to share your nonprofit’s mission and impact alongside your volunteer needs, so people can understand just how their involvement can make a difference in their community.

7. Reconnect with past volunteers.

Consider reaching out to individuals who have volunteered with your organization in the past and encouraging them to get involved again. If you’ve made improvements to your volunteer program, you can send them an email explaining the program’s new aspects and invite them to return.

You can also send them a survey for feedback. This may provide important insights into what about your program, if anything, leads individuals to stop volunteering. Remember that in order for your volunteer recruitment efforts to pay off, you need to have measures in place to retain your volunteers’ support for the long term.

8. Leverage your staff members and board.

Your nonprofit’s staff and board members may have key connections within the community who would like to get involved with your nonprofit. By leveraging these relationships, you’ll be able to promote volunteering opportunities beyond your existing audience.

You can even create a relationship map that lays out all the connections that your board members have, from business associates to fellow alumni from universities they attended. This resource can be immensely beneficial in informing your volunteer recruitment tactics and donor outreach in the future.

9. Create a volunteer page on your website.

Your nonprofit’s website plays a central role for both your current supporters and those who are interested in learning more about your organization. Make it easy for visitors to discover how they can support your mission by creating a dedicated volunteer page that contains all the relevant details for signing up. Be sure to include:

  • Descriptions of open opportunities
  • A link to your signup form
  • Compelling images of volunteers in action
  • A list of FAQs
  • Contact information for additional questions

Feeding America, for example, has a volunteer page that features a large image of volunteers in action. Front and center on the page, interested supporters can fill in their information to pledge to volunteer and find opportunities in their location.

Take a look at Feeding America’s volunteer page and determine how you can create your own to enhance your volunteer recruitment results.

The easier the volunteer signup process is, the more success you’ll have with recruiting eager volunteers for your nonprofit’s cause.

10. Post on volunteer matching websites.

Get in front of people who are already on the lookout for volunteer opportunities by posting on volunteer matching sites. Some popular sites for volunteer recruitment include:

  • VolunteerMatchVolunteerMatch has connected 18 million volunteers with nonprofits who need their support. This website allows people to refine their search by inputting information such as mission category, skills, and distance, making it easy for those who are passionate about your organization’s cause to find the opportunities you have available.
  • CatchafireThis website has matched volunteers on over 40,000 skills-based projects for nonprofits so far. Your organization can post volunteer job descriptions that require specific expertise, such as accounting or copywriting, and find qualified individuals to support your mission.
  • IdealistBy creating an account on the website, your organization can post volunteer listings for free to reach Idealist’s 1.3 million monthly visitors.
  • Create the Good. By registering for Create the Good, your nonprofit can post volunteer opportunities of all sizes and track volunteer participation in those opportunities.

Be sure that the volunteer job descriptions you post clearly outline the qualifications and expectations related to each position. This increases the chances you’ll find candidates with both the skills and the passion to enhance your nonprofit’s impact.

11. Reach out to local media outlets.

In addition to leveraging social media, Google ads, and volunteer matching websites, broaden your nonprofit’s reach by approaching local media outlets that may be willing to share your volunteer opportunities with their audiences. Consider reaching out to local:

  • Newspapers
  • Bloggers or podcasters
  • TV stations
  • Radio stations

According to the Federal Communications Commission, radio stations are legally required to operate in the “public interest” of their local communities. One way to demonstrate that they’re responding to the needs and interests of their community is to dedicate some airtime to nonprofits, allowing them to share their causes and direct listeners to their websites. This is an effective way to reach people who might not otherwise be exposed to your organization.

Sign up for Getting Attention’s newsletter to level up your marketing and recruit more supporters for your cause.

12. Provide a variety of volunteer opportunities.

Just as your nonprofit’s donors have varying preferences and connections to your cause, your volunteers will have their own strengths and interests. Therefore, be sure to provide a variety of opportunities that will appeal to everyone interested in volunteering with your organization.

While some of your volunteer positions may allow individuals to advance their specialized skills, for instance, you may also offer opportunities where people can develop their teamwork skills by working closely with other volunteers.

13. Prioritize accessibility.

Make your volunteer opportunities inclusive for people of all abilities by ensuring that locations are accessible to those who use mobility equipment and including a field in your volunteer signup form that asks whether the individual may need any accommodations to fulfill their role.

Furthermore, to provide a positive experience for all volunteers, consider factors such as transportation, childcare, and meals in advance. You may arrange for carpools or provide meals for volunteers on longer shifts to ensure that they can support your organization in a way that’s comfortable for them. Virtual volunteering opportunities can be another effective option, especially for supporters outside of your local area.

14. Consider micro-volunteering.

Micro-volunteering refers to offering volunteer opportunities that are more short-term and low-commitment so that even supporters with busy schedules can find ways to contribute to your nonprofit’s impact.

For instance, you can ask supporters to translate a document, sign an online petition, or make thank-you phone calls to donors. This can be a wonderful way to keep even the most time-pressed volunteers engaged with your organization for the long run.

15. Offer incentives to volunteer.

While 66% of volunteers get involved to make a difference in their communities, and 60% volunteer to contribute to a cause they care about, offering incentives can enhance volunteers’ experience with your nonprofit and keep them enthusiastic about supporting your work. Some common incentives to consider in your volunteer recruitment include:

  • Branded merchandise, like t-shirts and hats
  • Free food and drink
  • Gift cards or baskets
  • Social media shoutouts

These incentives can not only inspire more supporters to sign up as volunteers, but they can also serve as impactful volunteer appreciation ideas as well.

16. Recognize volunteers and ask for feedback.

Remember that determining how to recruit volunteers is only the start. Once you’ve found your volunteers, be sure to practice frequent recognition to retain their support for years to come. Send thank-you letters and share the specific impact of volunteers’ support so that they understand the importance of their contributions. These communications should:

  • Be prompt. Follow up with volunteers within a few days after their experience to ensure that they feel valued for their time and effort.
  • Be personalized. Show each supporter that you appreciate them as an individual to build a stronger, longer-lasting relationship with them.
  • Specify impact. Your volunteers want to know that they’re making a difference by contributing to your organization. In your thank-you message, be clear and specific as to how their involvement made an impact on the lives of those you serve.
  • Include images. Add relevant, compelling images or even videos to your thank-you’s to enhance your message and help volunteers visualize their impact.
  • Encourage further action. In addition to appreciating your volunteers, it’s important to keep them invested in your mission by offering them more ways they can get involved in the near future.

Use this volunteer thank-you template as a springboard for creating impactful, personalized messages to your supporters:

Use this thank-you template to cultivate long-term supporters of your cause.

Furthermore, consider sending out surveys to gather direct feedback from volunteers after their involvement. This allows you to gauge their satisfaction with your organization and identify areas of improvement to boost your volunteer recruitment results moving forward.

Wrapping Up

Recruiting high-quality supporters is essential to your nonprofit’s long-term success. By creating a memorable and rewarding experience for all of your volunteers, you’ll be able to build a strong, loyal volunteer base that sustains your organization into the future.

To learn more about promoting your volunteer opportunities and securing more support, explore these additional resources:

Click through to discover how Getting Attention can help your nonprofit boost its volunteer recruitment results with Google Ad Grants.

Your volunteer program can make a real difference in your local community. Learn how to strengthen your volunteer efforts with a community needs assessment.

Community Needs Assessment: Tips to Strengthen Volunteering

Volunteering takes many forms, whether it’s helping promote your nonprofit’s digital fundraisers or devoting a few hours a week to further one of your nonprofit’s initiatives. Volunteers give their time for a variety of reasons, such as a desire to support a cause they believe in, make friends with other volunteers, or even fulfill a school or work requirement. 

Many volunteers work with nonprofits that promise to help their communities. If your nonprofit is interested in launching a local volunteer initiative, you should start by completing a community needs assessment. Get Connected by Galaxy Digital’s guide to community needs assessments explains that these evaluations are tools nonprofits can use to identify what needs are present in a community and if the community has the resources available to meet those needs. Then, you can create a framework for ensuring those necessities are fulfilled. 

Completing a community needs assessment and using it to guide your volunteer program will lead to a stronger, more focused volunteer effort that will effectively meet the needs of your community and be fulfilling for participating volunteers. 

To help your nonprofit make use of this tool, this article will first explore how a community needs assessment can be used to make practical improvements to your volunteer program, before diving into three top tips for putting your assessment into action. Let’s get started.

How can a community needs assessment enrich your volunteer program?

A community needs assessment can assist your nonprofit in identifying gaps in your community’s services that your volunteer program can fulfill. The first thing a community needs assessment can help you do is categorize different types of needs and sort them by importance. 

There are four types of community needs:

  • Perceived needs. Perceived needs are subjective assessments made by community members about what they feel their community needs. 
  • Expressed needs. Expressed needs are similar to perceived needs in that they are defined by community members. However, expressed needs have a demonstrated history behind them, such as community members voicing formal complaints about littering due to a lack of trash cans. 
  • Absolute needs. Absolute needs are essential to basic survival, such as food and shelter. 
  • Relative needs. Relative needs are not necessary for survival, but due to outside circumstances have become essential. For example, your local library does not need to offer the community computers with free internet access, but failure to do so can significantly harm enough members of your community that this need should be fulfilled.

Your nonprofit can use these needs types to compare multiple needs that are discovered from your survey. Additionally, you should take into consideration which problems your nonprofit has the resources to solve and where your volunteers’ time will be best spent. 

Identifying these needs can also inform your volunteer recruitment strategy. For example, if your community has a need related to technical skills, your nonprofit would know to add that as a qualification in your volunteer recruitment messages.

Top Tips for Using Community Needs Assessments To Strengthen Volunteering

1. Align community needs and your volunteers’ skill sets.

As mentioned, community needs should influence the volunteers you recruit and assign to specific projects. If you already have a running volunteer program with several individuals you can reach out to about your new project, be sure to consider their specific skill sets and how they relate to your community’s needs. 

You can learn more about your current volunteers with a volunteer survey and attract new volunteers with the right skills by writing thorough job descriptions. Here’s a breakdown of these two tools:

  1. Volunteer surveys are surveys you give your volunteers to learn more about them and their experience with your organization. These surveys should ask about a volunteer’s specific skills and qualifications, their interests, and what they want to get out of volunteering. 
  2. Your volunteer job descriptions should include details about your program and the skills your nonprofit is looking for in volunteers. Ensure you are also clear about scheduling and time commitments to set expectations right at the start of your program. 

As you focus your volunteer program around specific community needs, you will likely have volunteers whose skills don’t quite align with your highest priority projects, but who still want to help. Do your best to find roles for all of your volunteers to keep them engaged with your organization. Doing so will ensure you have additional hands on deck when a project they are qualified for comes along. 

2. Develop a clear plan of action to address each need.

Your community needs assessment can help your nonprofit gather necessary information and data that can be used to create an action plan for your volunteer program. Essentially, your nonprofit will need to first take into account what needs exist in your community, the resources and budget you have available to solve those needs, and your volunteers and their individual time commitments and skillsets. 

With these various factors in mind, your nonprofit can create a SMART goal for your volunteer programs. SMART goals are goals that are:

  • Specific. While your nonprofit likely has a greater, broad mission statement that all of your initiatives fall under, your volunteer programs should aim to have highly specific goals. These will help you determine without a doubt whether your program was successful. For instance, a goal such as “recruit more volunteers than last year” will be successful whether you recruit one or a hundred more volunteers than you did previously. By contrast, setting the goal of earning 50 new volunteers for your program gives you a specific target to reach for. 
  • Measurable. Qualitative goals can be useful, but your volunteer program should aim to have measurable, quantitative goals whenever possible. For example, an animal shelter’s volunteer program might have a measurable goal of finding homes for at least 40% of their current number of dogs and cats in the next six months.
  • Attainable. Your nonprofit should have to put a considerable amount of effort into achieving your goal, but it should also be within your organization’s potential reach. Setting unattainable goals will likely only demotivate your volunteers, which can cause your program to suffer in the long run as volunteers get discouraged and leave. 
  • Relevant. Choose a goal that relates to both your specific program and your nonprofit’s overall mission. For example, a nonprofit with a mission to help promote tech literacy in low-income communities may have a program-specific objective of helping a local school create a computer lab. Your volunteer program may then have a smaller relevant goal of recruiting 10 volunteers with the necessary technical skills who can help procure and set up 20 computers. 
  • Time-based. Even for ongoing projects, your nonprofit should establish various time-frames for each goal, at which point you will assess your progress and whether the goal was achieved. 

When setting your goal, be sure to account not just for the results you would like to see, but the resources, logistics, and planning that will need to go into your program. For instance, if your volunteers need any training to complete a specific task or use a software program, you will need to schedule some instruction time into your volunteer program. 

3. Spread the word about your plan of action with volunteers.

You can keep your volunteers engaged by sharing with them how your community needs assessment has shaped your program’s strategy. As members of the community themselves, your volunteers will be excited to see you’ve taken community needs into consideration.

You can get the word out about your program and approach by:

  • Using a multi-channel marketing approach. You can thoroughly explain your program and recruit volunteers by creating multiple touchpoints via a multi-channel marketing approach. This means getting in touch with volunteers through a variety of communication methods such as email, social media, direct mail, and even flyers at your local community center. 
  • Applying for a Google grant to reach more volunteers. Google gives nonprofits the ability to create targeted ads with a $10,000 grant. These ads can be used to promote and share information about your volunteer program when people in your local community perform relevant Google searches. Ensure your nonprofit is optimized for the Google grant before starting the application process to reduce the time it takes to get this marketing channel up and running.
  • Partnering with local organizations. You can reach members of your community by partnering with local organizations such as businesses, schools, and community centers. These organizations will likely have a similar investment in improving your community and may appreciate an opportunity to boost their reputation by working alongside a charitable organization like your nonprofit. 

You can give your volunteers an additional way to support your organization, and their community along with it, by sharing information about volunteer grants. Crowd101’s article on volunteer grants defines them as “monetary donations companies make to eligible nonprofits where their employees regularly volunteer.”  

In other words, when eligible volunteers work a certain amount of hours at your nonprofit, they can fill out an application with their employer, who will then donate to your nonprofit. Help your volunteers discover if they qualify for a grant and provide assistance as they complete their applications. 

Your community supports your nonprofit in all its efforts, and you can pay them back by discovering and attending to their needs through your volunteer program. Take the time to learn how you can help your community, and use the information you collect to inform your volunteer strategy. Good luck!