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5 ways to set your volunteers up for success this year

Posted January 29, 2019 by Virginia Davidson

volunteer success tips

Engaged volunteers can augment your organization’s work and help expand your network of supporters. By following these five simple tips, you can set your volunteers up for success this year.

Create job descriptions for your volunteers

Volunteer job descriptions

A clear volunteer job description helps potential volunteers determine if the role is something they’re interested in. Also, staff can assess whether someone is the right fit for the role. Moreover, working with a job description helps set expectations and shows your organization is organized, understands its own needs, and is prepared to work with volunteers effectively. Learn some great tips on how to write a volunteer job description in this article.


Clearly define time expectations for your volunteers 

set time expectations for volunteeersNot all prospective volunteers can make an ongoing commitment of time. A person who is in between jobs may be able to volunteer steadily for a month or so, while another person could be looking for a more long-term role. Others may volunteer just once a year to help assemble your appeal mailing, and they’ll do so year after year. When you set a time frame for a specific role, you enable people to get involved who might otherwise think they don’t have enough time to give (and avoid guilty feelings in others).


Ask your tried and true volunteers if there are tasks they’d like to delegate

volunteers delegate tasksYou may be lucky enough to have long-time volunteers who have stepped in to fill gaps over the years. As a result, there may be some tasks they’ve taken on out of a feeling of obligation or commitment to your organization. Check in with these volunteers regularly and see if there’s anything they’d like taken off their plate. Work with them to craft job descriptions and time frames for those tasks. When you lighten their load, their passion for volunteering may be reinvigorated, and their insider knowledge and experience will help you seek new volunteers to get involved.


Let volunteers know your organization’s big picture for the year

share big picture plan with volunteeersIt’s challenging for people to offer their time if a request for help is shared with short notice. Consider sharing your organization’s expected needs and calendar with volunteers at the start of each year. If you’re hosting a big event in August, you’ll be more successful at engaging volunteers if they have that date marked on their calendar months in advance. This also helps volunteers mention these opportunities to their friends and coworkers and may help you recruit more supporters.


Keep accurate records and send year-end volunteer statements

accurate volunteer recordsJust as you record gifts received from donors, it’s important to track the hours of your volunteers. This sends a message that your nonprofit values their contributions of time. You need to make it easy for them to submit their hours, though. If you’re using Little Green Light, you can create a simple online form for volunteers to use to submit their hours. At the end of the year, generate volunteer statements, which provide volunteers with their total hours for the year. Seeing their total hours for the year in print can give volunteers a sense of accomplishment, and for those volunteers who report their hours to their school or employer, this is a much-appreciated convenience.



Financial contributions are essential to a nonprofit organization, but contributions of time can also play a vital role. Volunteers perform important tasks for your nonprofit and they can be incredibly effective in encouraging their network to support you, whether through volunteering or through financial contributions. Try following these tips to ensure your volunteer’s success this year.


Are you looking for a system that can help you to more effectively manage your volunteers? Check out our article on 5 simple ways to manage volunteers using Little Green Light.

3 thoughts on “5 ways to set your volunteers up for success this year

  1. The Art Center Highland Park is new to LGL and is enjoying learning all the capabilities of the system. These Strategy tips are helpful.

    Thank you Virginia

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