Step One of Setting Up a Volunteer Program: Create a Mission Statement

The first step of setting a volunteer program involves crafting a compelling mission statement. To attract the people who are going to make your movement happen, you first must capture hearts and minds. Draft a clear mission statement that eloquently expresses your vision for the future, and your unique approach to creating positive change.

Step Two of Setting Up a Volunteer Program: Goal Setting

Once you have established and expressed your mission, the second step towards setting up a volunteer program is to plan and state your goals. Make sure that your goal statements answer key questions that potential volunteers will have. What impact is your volunteer program going to make? What specific communities will your organization serve? Support your goals by giving evidence that your methods will be effective. Can you cite a case study or example that shows your organization is capable of achieving your goals?

Step Three of Setting Up a Volunteer Program: Get Organized

The third critical step in setting up a volunteer program is getting organized. Studies suggest that even though Americans are more interested in volunteering than ever, they generally approach nonprofit groups and charitable organizations with skepticism. Most volunteers want to be reassured on a few points before they devote time or money to any organization:

1. They want to volunteer at organizations that demonstrate true commitment to a cause they care about.
2. They want to play a role that utilizes their skill sets and appeals to their interests.
3. They want to work in a well-structured environment, with clearly defined roles and firm policies and procedures in place to support them.
4. They want reliable schedules, and a variety of time commitments to choose from.
5. They want clear lines of communication.
6. They don’t want to be bombarded with irrelevant emails.

Once you have your internal organization in order: including a full risk management plan, a volunteer handbook, staff ready to run an effective orientation and training program, and community resources in place, you are ready to move on to the final stage of setting up your volunteer program: recruit development.

Step Four of Setting Up A Volunteer Program: Develop and Manage Relationships

Developing good relationships with volunteers begins at this stage of the process. Make sure volunteer job descriptions are accurate and include required skill sets. Offer a wide variety of time commitments. Set up a volunteer database so that you can keep detailed records on potential volunteers including their skills, interests, and how they prefer to be contacted.

Volunteer management software can greatly help you at this stage of development. You do not need to reinvent the wheel while developing your volunteer recruitment plan. Galaxy Digital developed our Get Connected software to serve this need. Once your organization has identified your mission, your goals, your structure, and your volunteer needs, you are ready to use Get Connected. Get Connected is an easy-to-use, web-based platform that integrates into your existing website. When you match volunteers with opportunities that engage them, and effectively manage your relationships with volunteers, you are more likely to keep them on your team. Long-term volunteer relationships are absolutely necessary to fulfilling your mission and reaching your goals.

Now get started, and good luck- the world needs all you can give!