Volunteers are a keystone to any nonprofit organization’s success. They donate their time, skills, and expertise to help nonprofits in various ways. A volunteer coordinator is responsible for recruiting, training, and supporting these volunteers to meet their personal needs and the nonprofit’s mission.

Volunteer organizations are often in the business of helping people. They offer a wide range of services, from assisting new immigrants and young people to providing translation guides, teaching people about their rights, to putting on exhibits. Some organizations are more specific than others, such as a group that explicitly helps individuals with diabetes or a group that takes on environmental issues. Managing a volunteer organization is a big undertaking. Here is a rundown of essential things to do to maintain volunteer programs.

1. Regular Communication

Communication is of the utmost importance for any organization, whether for-profit, nonprofit, or volunteer. Volunteers are not doing this to take advantage of the organization. Rather they are likely doing it because they want to contribute to making things better in some way. Regular communication is paramount to keep them appreciated and up-to-date on progress. This also keeps them connected and supportive of the organization and its goals.

Use email, walk-in visits, and phone calls. Email is meaningful and can be easily used for quick updates and written messages. Walk-in visits or telephone calls are helpful for one-on-one conversations to help clarify an issue that can be difficult to communicate over email. Send regular newsletters to keep volunteers informed of the organization’s activities, events, and accomplishments.

2. Train the Volunteers

Volunteers will have lots to learn from the beginning of their involvement with an organization. From learning the organization’s background and mission statement, how to donate financially or use a computer, and how to organize volunteer activities, volunteers will want to learn everything they can. The more they know while getting involved, the more likely they will become long-term supporters. Use visual aids, handouts, and training materials to help make learning easier.

The training will also differ depending on the activity they will be working on. If the volunteers are going to conduct fundraising, they will need to know how to set up a donation, how to raise money with an attractive event, and how to use the donations they raise. To help organize volunteers, they will need to know all the details of having people sign up for volunteer time and what responsibilities a volunteer has.

3. Use Technology

Whether you are a new nonprofit or you’ve been in the space for years, there is no substitute for documentation. Manually keeping track of everything by hand is time-consuming, laborious, and leads to siloed information. If your organization is looking to save time, improve synergy between departments and create sweat equity, consider investing in automation software that helps nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity. These tools include everything from volunteer scheduling, task management, grant tracking, and email marketing. Smart automation will ensure no important information is lost and also help to manage day-to-day business.

4. Set Goals

Volunteers want to know when they are doing worthwhile work and what impact they are making. It is vital to set up goals for your organization. It encourages them to continue their excellent work and helps them feel like they are making a difference. Set up short-term and long-term goals so that everyone can see the progress made tangibly. Some examples of goals include having a certain number of volunteers complete training, finding a certain number of donors, or accomplishing specific tasks for the nonprofit’s overall mission.

Your organization will also need to set values for yourselves and your volunteers. Values will help you and your organization decide if the mission is being accomplished, whether the activities are being done effectively, and commitment from volunteers to perform their tasks. You can set similar values for individual volunteers. Mission statements should be written in a way that makes sense to everyone involved. It should clearly define why volunteering exists and what the volunteer’s goals are.


Nonprofit organizations will always need volunteers. Whether it is to help with fundraising events or to help at a gala dinner, volunteers are always needed. These efforts require organization and communication to make sure everything goes smoothly. The more volunteer programs are organized, the easier it will be to attract new volunteers and ensure they are comfortable there.

By Manali