If you work for a nonprofit, especially a young nonprofit, you can probably count your other coworkers on one hand. This, in addition to the fact that your work is never truly done, makes it likely that you are indeed overworked. But that’s okay – because you’re doing something great!!! An organization devoted to helping others deserves aid as well. Below we’ve compiled our 5 favorite tools to help you better reach and recruit volunteers to share the load and help your 501(c)3 succeed.
Many people would love to volunteer but simply don’t have the time. Sparked.com is predicated on solving this problem with “microvolunteering”.
Microvolunteering makes it easier to volunteer by breaking up tasks into “bite-sized” small parts so they can be completed in whatever time you have available (even waiting for the bus). Most tasks can be completed via the internet on a computer or smartphone. Sparked also utilizes your pre-existing social network by turning people who simply “like” you into full-fledged business evangelists, as well as empowering other companies’ employees to conveniently provide their expertise right from their own desk via the Sparked Community.
By registering with Sparked, you can find an expert to do anything from program chunks of code, to translating 500 words of Spanish, to designing a logo, all for free. Even better, their interface is clean, light and user-friendly for volunteer and nonprofits alike.
Taproot is a grants foundation, but instead of allocating grants for cash, their grants are for services.
What this means is that if found eligible, your nonprofit will apply for consultation from a team of 5-6 professionals who’ve volunteered their time pro-bono – a service which is valued at $45,000 – for free. Their website features a completed projects section where you can gauge Taproot’s efficacy for yourself by perusing their case studies. One of the primary uses of this organization is its ability to consolidate your volunteer network onto a small team of professional consultants. This is a great way to cut back on time and effort spent on managing armies of volunteers. Taproot also requires that if your application is considered qualified, they’ll invite you for an in-person interview and conduct an on-site consultation. In other words:
Taproot’s services are invaluable for their degree of personal engagement and involvement with your nonprofit. Criteria for eligibility that is worth noting: your nonprofit must have a budget of over $350,000 and at least 3 employees.
Serving over 70,000 nonprofits with a pool of 10 million volunteers annually, VolunteerMatch boasts one of the nation’s largest online network for connecting nonprofits to eager altruists.
With easy and free registration, any 501(c)3 is welcome to set up a profile and begin recruiting within minutes. For volunteers the site is user friendly: you do not need to register to volunteer and can simply search through the database to find either local opportunities or virtual opportunities (work that can be done from a computer). Volunteers can search as broadly as “within 60 miles of me” or a more specific advanced search. Volunteers can also register with VM to receive email updates on the latest volunteer opportunities, catered to their interests.
VolunteerMatch also offers an upgrade from their Basic Services to a Community Leader package for $8.95/month or $75/annually. Additionally, you can pay to have your nonprofit listed in multiple zip codes (the basic free package only lists one) for just $.50 per zip code to boost your search visibility.
The Hands On Network is an aggregation of companies and resources similar to Network for Good, but with a greater focus on volunteerism than donation. Their site includes a wealth of free resources for nonprofits to mobilize volunteers as well as just about anything you could wish to know about volunteerism.
You can gain access to an even greater cache of resources, tools and support by becoming a member of the Hands on Network. Joining costs $150 for the one employee, $275 for two, $350 for three, $425 for four and $500 for five (prices and benefits become negotiable beyond the five-employee plan). In addition to their online resources, an integral component to their brand is offline volunteerism – HON mobilizes people through 250 Volunteer Centers in 16 different countries.
These Volunteer Centers are the primary engine through which HON manages volunteers, so it is worth noting that the real value of becoming a member is in the networking opportunities that come with becoming a member – you’ll gain introductions to HON affiliates in local markets who can then personally connect you to opportunities at their Volunteer Centers. Their paid services are a great way to expand your network in a personal manner, and the site alone is well-worth investigating; a myriad of ebooks and webinars make them a great tool for connecting with volunteers even with a short visit.
Volunteering in America is a ‘.gov’ providing comprehensive data and statistics for all aspects of volunteerism in the U.S. You can find out just about anything you need to know regarding volunteerism in any region of the country.
Visiting V.I.N. will provide you with better insights into your target demographic of potential volunteers. Their research page offers insights based off of census data. For example, a study that suggests college students are twice as likely to volunteer, or research about how volunteering can be measurably good for your physical as well as mental health. A quick perusal will equip you with some useful (and some slightly less useful) data about volunteerism.
This is an excellent resource for anyone on your team with responsibilities pertaining to marketing.
If you volunteered 4 hours of your time, would you rather be rewarded in
A) A HUGE plate of your favorite desert?
B) A $10 gift card to Dunkin Doughnuts (with no expiration date!!)?
Share your ideas about fun and frugal ways to reward your volunteers for their great work!