Nonprofit organizations rely on both employees and volunteers to further the mission of the organization. It is only through their involvement that the organization can thrive. Whether you have a massive group of volunteers and staff onboard or just a small handful, volunteers and employees are among the most valuable assets to a nonprofit organization. Therefore, it is imperative that management staff work to build and retain a strong relationship between employees and volunteers. Here are a few things nonprofit managers can do to bring their staff together.
Treat Everyone Equally
Oftentimes volunteers are not treated the same as paid employees but it is important to think rationally about the value that volunteers bring to the organization. In essence, their work is like putting money in the bank and they should be valued accordingly. Managers need to remind employees of the important role volunteers play in the success of the organization and that they should never be viewed as “free labor” or “low skilled.” Volunteers that put time and effort into an organization should be treated with the same respect as paid employees.
Create a Volunteer Engagement Program
In order for things to run smoothly, managers should implement a volunteer engagement policy that includes strategies, goals, and guidelines so that there is no confusion about volunteer roles and responsibilities. Volunteers are an integral part of the organization functioning and should be included in discussions and board room meetings. Not only will this make volunteers more engaged in the mission, but it will ensure that employees and volunteers are also on the same page about expectations.
Invite Volunteers to Meetings and Planning Sessions
All too often there is a disconnect between employees and volunteers and this is largely due to the fact that employees simply do not know the volunteers. In order to bring both entities together, managers should invite volunteers to meetings and planning sessions. Not only will this give volunteers a chance to share their input and increase communication among staff, but it gives employees and volunteers a chance to get to know each other.
Give Volunteers and Employees the Training and Resources They Need
Employees and volunteers both yearn to bring something to the table. Clearly, they both believe in the mission and are willing to help in any way they can. That said, managers need to equip employees and volunteers with the tools and resources they need to be successful. In addition to tools and equipment, employees and volunteers should be given sufficient training to do their jobs. Not only will this improve efficiency, but it will bring employees and volunteers together to work towards a common goal.