Archive for August, 2012

Good Advice for New Nonprofit and Volunteer Managers

Friday, August 31st, 2012

volunteer screening blogIf you’re new to the world of nonprofit and volunteer management, congratulations! You’ve joined one of the most interesting and rewarding careers out there. But just like any new venture, moving into management comes with a unique set of challenges. Here are some of the best bits of advice we’ve heard for new managers:

  • Don’t Fear Your Title: Sure, you may have never been a “director” or “manager” before. And it might be scary to wonder if you’re up to the challenge. But think about the many managers and bosses you’ve had in your career. Surely, you’re at least as competent as most of them—and probably will outshine more than a few. Remember, you can’t be any worse than most of the managers out there! You automatically have the authority that comes with your title, so embrace it—don’t fear it.
  • Step Up: Now that you’re a boss, you need to rise above the fray. Don’t participate in gossip or negative talk about management, co-workers, board members or volunteers. Set parameters for your friendships with those you now supervise. Being friendly is fine, but don’t overcompensate for your new role by pushing friendship or trying to be extra-chummy.
  • Educate Yourself: Seek out opportunities to improve your abilities and skills. Leadership classes, management training, marketing classes and books on these topics will help you learn proven strategies and techniques that can make your job easier.
  • Don’t Change Things Too Quickly: Your staff and volunteers may be resistant to change. Your becoming a manager might be enough change for a while. Take your time when introducing changes, and give staff and volunteers the chance to weigh in on new processes and procedures.
  • Keep Communication Flowing: Above all, establish an open-communication management style. Don’t leave people in the dark, or they will worry that something is wrong. Talk through concerns and issues that people have, whether they’re related to your areas of responsibility or not, before they become bigger problems.

One aspect of volunteer management is proper volunteer screening. By conducting volunteer background checks and credit checks, you’ll keep your organization’s clients safer.

Non Profits Analyzing Data to Gain Support

Friday, August 24th, 2012

employee screening, pre-employment screening, employee credit checkBusiness analytics is commonplace in for-profit entities. Gathering data, crunching numbers and spotting trends can improve operations and increase profits. Increasingly, nonprofits are using analytics to determine what they are doing well and what needs to be improved.

At the same time, government agencies, charitable and corporate foundations, and individuals have been taking more care with their donations, asking for evidence that nonprofits are fulfilling their missions, and are therefore worthy of support. Analytics enables nonprofits to provide the data that proves their success.

Keeping detailed databases on clients served and their outcomes are helping nonprofits approach their missions in a more business-like fashion. Where once paper records sufficed, now sophisticated software is tracking clients, measuring progress and assessing impact.

Data systems capable of delivering such insights are not cheap; nor is the staff required to run them and interpret the results. Similarly, independent impact studies can cost more than many nonprofit agencies can spare. However, knowing whether or not your agency is meeting its objectives is fundamental to its existence.

Plus, discovering the hidden gems in data can help re-establish an agency’s focus. For example, if data shows that access to low-cost or free child increases the success rate of parents pursuing GEDs, then an organization can focus on putting together a child care program, as well as preparing students for exams.

Data can also attract new investment from donors. It’s essential to show donors that the work you’re doing is making a real difference. In terms of hard numbers, giving them a black-and-white picture of the return on their investment can make a huge difference.

To attract donors and improve performance, nonprofits need to act more like businesses and demonstrate tangible results. While it may be more difficult to measure social change than corporate profits, it can be done. Tracking participation and results can be accomplished through simple databases, like Microsoft Access, or through more sophisticated database management systems. Give it a try, and you may be surprised at the results you see over the next six months or year.

Can you trust every person who volunteers for your agency? Conduct background checks on all volunteers. Rely on for your volunteer screening services. Protect your staff, clients, and your community with volunteer background checks.

Fresh Ideas For Recruiting Volunteers

Friday, August 17th, 2012

prescreening volunteers, volunteer background checkIf you’re a volunteer manager, recruiting new help is often a constant task. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Today, there are more tools to get the word out about your organization and your volunteer needs than ever before.

Here are a few tips to attract new volunteers and energy to your non-profit:

  1. Ask! More than 50% of people who volunteer say they did it because someone asked them to. Think about all the people you know, and all of their friends, co-workers and family members. Hold personal conversations with community leaders, board members and business partners; let them know you’re looking for volunteers. Ask them to spread the word.
  2. Speaking of spreading the word, take full advantage of social media networks. You can reach many more people in your community (and beyond) through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Set up pages on each social network, and post frequently to increase your reach and create a community.
  3. Some people might be hesitant to commit to a volunteer gig. Take away their fear by offering a “free preview.” This gives volunteers a chance to check out your organization, as well as giving you the opportunity to assess their skills and attributes, so you can determine to which jobs they’re best suited.
  4. Visit community service organizations and business networking groups. They often invite local non-profit representatives to speak at their meetings. Use these opportunities to further spread the word about your cause, events and need for volunteers.
  5. Partner with local businesses. Many would jump on the chance to provide volunteers for a specific event or start an ongoing employee volunteer program—but are just waiting for the opportunity to present itself. Business owners are busy people. Help them out by going to them.