Volunteers are an essential part of nearly every non-profit organization, but managing volunteer data can be a challenge. Here are five ideas on how Little Green Light can help you recruit, retain, and track volunteers in a way that makes it easy—for you and your volunteers!
Idea#1: Accept volunteer applications online
Use LGL Forms to build an online volunteer application and integrate the form with your Little Green Light database. Potential volunteers will appreciate the ease of an online application, and you’ll love the time you save by not having to manually enter this information into your database.
Be sure to capture a potential volunteer’s areas of interest so you have that information at your fingertips. In addition to posting the form on your website, consider embedding the application form in a tab on your organization’s Facebook page (a quick Google search will lead you to some simple tutorials on how to do this).
Need some inspiration to get started? Check out our Pinterest board for a sampling of volunteer forms created by Little Green Light customers.
Idea #2: Enable volunteers to submit their volunteer hours online
Once your volunteers are pitching in, you’ll want to capture their volunteer hours in a timely manner. Build a form so volunteers can conveniently submit their own hours. Keep the form simple so it’s not a burden for volunteers to log their hours, but be sure to capture information that will be useful to you, such as the task that the volunteer participated in, the number of hours, and the date of service.
Sample form created with LGL Forms:
Now that you have a system in place to collect volunteer data, don’t just let it sit there! Use that data to…
Idea #3: Generate volunteer reports
Have you ever completed a grant application that asked for the number of volunteer hours in a fiscal year? If this question made you wish you had a better system for recording hours and didn’t have to make educated guesses, you aren’t alone. But if you track your volunteer hours in Little Green Light, you can quickly generate a report of those hours for a specific time period. Use these reports to highlight volunteer hours in grant narratives, annual reports, newsletters, and in meetings with donors.
Idea #4: Communicate with volunteers
A simple search in Little Green Light may reveal constituents who submitted a volunteer application but haven’t logged any hours. Why not reach out to these people and try to engage them? Perhaps a change in their work schedule makes it hard to volunteer on weekends, or they simply got busy and forgot about your organization. Whatever the reason, connecting with inactive volunteers will likely provide you with useful information, and help you to cultivate a relationship with these potential volunteers and advocates for your organization.
Idea #5: Recognize your volunteers and recruit more!
Since you’re collecting volunteer hours and saving them in your Little Green Light database, it’s easy to streamline your volunteer appreciation program and regularly thank your volunteers who are donating their time. When volunteers feel that their time is recognized and appreciated, they’re more likely to stick with your organization. You can share the number of volunteer hours on social media and in your organization’s newsletters to highlight the impact of these hours and give credit to the individuals who contributed their time. A simple sentence such as, “Last week, 17 individuals contributed a total of 62 volunteer hours to deliver warm, nutritious meals to 100 home-bound seniors in our community!” says a lot about the crucial role that volunteers play in your mission.
Tracking volunteer hours in Little Green Light also allows you to celebrate volunteer milestones. Include a volunteer spotlight in your newsletter to thank volunteers when they reach 100 service hours. If you have an annual volunteer appreciation event, you can take advantage of your data and recognize new volunteers that year, volunteers who’ve achieved five years of service, or other meaningful milestones.
We all like to be part of a success story. Use the valuable data you’re storing in your Little Green Light account to celebrate the important role of volunteers and help your organization recruit more.