Archive for September, 2011

Remote Volunteers Can Help Fill the Gaps

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

background screening, volunteer background checkJust because a potential volunteer doesn’t have time to commute to your location doesn’t mean you should pass them by. Remote and web commuting can help your organization boost volunteer contributions without adding to greenhouse gases.

How does remote volunteering work? Just like remote working. According to Forrester research, about 62% of the information technology workforce works from multiple locations in the workweek, from home, the office, on the road, or other locations. Like these workers, when volunteers have all the tools needed to access documents, email, and calendars, they can help your organization, regardless of where they happen to be.

Of course, if your organization is a food bank and you need help unloading a truck, you’ll need on-the-ground volunteers. But there are dozens of other volunteer duties that don’t require physical presence:
• Entering supporter information into a database
• Soliciting donations for a fundraiser
• Accounting duties
• Paying bills
• Maintaining or updating the website
• Writing blog posts
• Creating a newsletter
• Updating Facebook and Twitter accounts
• Researching possible events
• Outreach to new supporters

Especially for sensitive functions, such as accounting and banking, your volunteer will need to be fully vetted, with a thorough background check and credit check. Most organizations would only trust a long-time volunteer or board officer with these types of duties. Just make sure they have secure access to online banking. It’s a good idea to supply a paper shredder and training in proper security. And, thorough screening is still necessary!

Giving volunteers the option to work remotely will enhance your ability to attract top talent and retain devoted volunteers who are experts in their fields.

Recruiting Volunteers By Promoting Career Development

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Volunteer screening, volunteer background checkLinkedIn, the world’s largest professional social networking site, has recognized the value of volunteering to career development by allowing users to list their public-service efforts under a new section. The new “Volunteer Experience and Causes” feature encourages LinkedIn users to tout their volunteer work to help them stand out to potential employers.

According to a random survey of nearly 2,000 people, LinkedIn found that the vast majority (89%) had volunteer experience. But only 45% reported their volunteer experiences on their career profiles.

Some said they didn’t think their experience would be interesting to hiring managers, while others said it had just never occurred to them. However, 41% of respondents said they did consider volunteer work to be as valuable as paid work, while 20% of managers polled in the survey said they make hiring decision based on volunteer work.

So volunteer managers, how can you use this when recruiting new volunteers?

  • First, use the survey information to your advantage. Demonstrating that you have a grasp on what’s happening in the recruiting/hiring world automatically makes you look like someone who’s worth knowing—and volunteering for.
  • Post messages like “Volunteering with us is good for your resume” on your organization’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. Catch attention by citing statistics, and list your current volunteer openings.
  • Remind volunteers to add their experience to their resume and LinkedIn profile. They will appreciate the tip, and the fact that they’re volunteering for a forward-thinking organization.
  • Give volunteers career-enhancing tasks that improve your organization’s operations, marketing efforts, accounting, or outreach. For example, ask a marketing volunteer to set up a plan to increase your Twitter followers, or an easy way to update the Facebook page to keep supporters informed and engaged. The experience will benefit them as well as you.

When you bring on new volunteers, be sure to properly screen them. When volunteers have access to a nonprofit’s clients, financial information, sensitive records, property, and reputation, the risk of harm is too great to skip doing volunteer background screening, including criminal background checks and volunteer credit checks.

Creating Buzz For Your Non-profit

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

volunteer screening, volunteer background checkYou don’t have to be a media or marketing maven to create a buzz around your non-profit. It does take some time, a little creativity and a willingness to try new things. No matter if your charity is saving animals, kids or trees, you can engage your audience and attract new supporters through a few well-thought-out activities.

Here are four ideas for creating buzz:

  • Adopt a school. Partnering with an elementary, middle or high school is a great way to introduce young people to volunteering. At the same time, you’re educating a new generation about your charity’s work. And the kids are likely to tell their families and friends about it. It could take time to find a school willing to create a partnership, but it could be well worth the effort!
  • Create a contest. Contests are a great way to create a buzz. Just solicit a donation from a business or supporter. Fun experiences, like a river rafting trip or hot-air balloon ride, or a product or service that ties into your mission, are all great ideas for contest prizes. If you’re an art museum, give away a painting. If you’re a youth services organization, have the kids create a sculpture. If you’re saving the environment, a great contest prize is a ready-to-plant raised vegetable garden. You can either sell raffle tickets or solicit entries on Facebook and other social media outlets.
  • Enroll in classes and seminars. Your local community college, technical school or university probably offers free or low-cost classes in technology, web design, social media or marketing – or dozens of other business-related topics. You’re likely to meet other business people and business owners that will soon learn about your non-profit. If you don’t have time to attend classes, look for half-day or one-day seminars that will both teach you valuable skills and expose your charity to a new audience. And if you cannot find the time to attend, send a co-worker, or even a volunteer.
  • Produce a simple event. Not a fundraiser—fundraisers are to raise funds. Other events can simply create buzz. For example, if you have a new building, hold an open house. If you’ve recently acquired a donation, find local groups who might be interested, and invite them to check it out. Or, contact an expert in any given field and ask them to give a presentation. Invite the public or make it a private event. Just reach out and inform people about your organization.

Creating buzz simply takes a little time, some creativity, and willingness to ask people for help. It can be a great way to spread the word about your non-profit!