By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator
This spring, the Center for Nonprofit Advancement and Volunteer Frontier published the Volunteer Engagement Stars Report, which examined the ways in which nine nonprofits make the most of their volunteer resources. The Catalogue for Philanthropy provided the primary source for selecting nonprofits for the report, and we were excited to learn more about the ways in which this group of nonprofits “utilizes volunteers in dynamic ways and returns dramatic results.”
The agencies featured in Volunteer Engagement Stars represent a fair cross section of nonprofits, serving unique client bases under diverse budgets (from $500,000 to over $24 million). The techniques they used to engage volunteers also vary — from Arlington Free Clinic, who benefits from the pro bono services of trained medical professionals, to Little Lights Urban Ministries, whose volunteers provide tutoring and other youth programming.
The report offers several key recommendations to help nonprofits increase effective volunteer engagement, including the following: create an organizational culture that embraces volunteers; see today’s volunteer as tomorrow’s donor; involve the business community (skilled volunteering); appeal to the “new breed” of volunteer; integrate volunteering across the entire agency; invest in volunteers for the future pay-off; and find the best fit for volunteers and the agency.
The Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s CEO Glen O’Gilvie brought many important strands of the report together in the forward, writing “An important finding from this report centers on how we engage others. Utilizing volunteers well is about creating a culture which embraces and respects those who serve, while at the same time providing them with meaningful service experiences.” Whether engaging with volunteers, donors, or other key stakeholders, lasting relationships comes when individuals connect with and share your nonprofit’s vision of change. Check out the full report online for more details on how engaged volunteerism can make a difference in your agency.