The Top Three Worst Things To Avoid in 2016

As summer comes to a close, the march to 2016 begins. The difference between a successful 2016 and a disastrous one is how prepared you are in 2015 to tackle 2016 in your nonprofit organization. Avoid these top three issues:

Starting the year without a strategic roadmap

Underestimating the need to train your Board of Directors

Assuming you will have a ready and able pool of volunteers

Start today to avoid these major pitfalls by:

Building your strategic roadmap –As we think about strategy within your nonprofit organization, do we tend to overuse that term?  When we think of a roadmap, we think of something that helps us get from destination A to destination B. When we add in strategy, we are thinking about the future state of the organization.

As a nonprofit organization, these are statistics we do not want to see. There is fierce competition, more so than ever, for our volunteer’s time. In this same report, the median annual hours of volunteering for both men and women are 50. This equates to less than an hour a week of time, which begs the question, “how much time will we receive in our nonprofit organization?” It is time to throw out the archaic concept of the volunteer job description and rename it the Volunteer Experience Opportunity. We have found that building an experience rather than “giving a job” is 50% more effective in recruiting new volunteers and retaining the ones you have. In building your Volunteer Experience Opportunity, these are the top ten questions you will want to answer:

  1. Volunteer position to be filled (what will this volunteer do for my nonprofit organization?)
  2. Date to be filled (when do we need this person on board?)
  3. Position description (detail the position as much as possible)
  4. What volunteer need will it fulfill (specifically, how will this appeal to what a volunteer is seeking in fulfilling their volunteering need)?
  5. How can this position build more friendships (if this volunteer is successful, how will it build relationships/friendships in the organization)?
  6. How does it fulfill an individuals need to make a commitment (what is rewarding about this commitment to make it a commitment)?
  7. How will this position make an impact in the chapter, in the profession, etc. (as a volunteer, how will he or she make an impact. Very important to provide this as it is a major reason to volunteer)?
  8. What type of time commitment is this position (is this a long-term commitment on a committee or is it a short-term, just-in-time volunteering position with a fixed length of time and deliverables)?
  9. If yes, what is the deliverable at the end of the project that someone can be proud of?
  10. How will the position be recognized?

How many times do we ask our volunteers what they want to get out of their experience? By answering these 10 questions, your organization will go beyond just giving a volunteer a job. It will help to define a rewarding experience that will lead to a long-term relationship. Appeal to their core needs and they will stay loyal to your organization for many years to come.