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5 Steps Funders Can Take To Support Strategic Volunteer Engagement

1. Ask for feedback regarding volunteer engagement successes and challenges during your site visits and in your grant application and evaluation forms. When evaluating organizations as potential fundees, these six  questions can help you assess their capacity for volunteer engagement:

  • How does the organization determine the best way to involve volunteers in meeting its mission?
  • Does the organization have a professionally trained volunteer engagement director?
  • Do staff members work closely with volunteers in the agency? If so, what training do they receive to prepare them to partner with unpaid staff?
  • How are volunteers trained or oriented about their work and the agency?  And how are they recognized for their contributions to the organization’s mission?
  • How does the organization evaluate the overall impact of volunteer involvement?
  • How does the involvement of volunteers enhance or support the project goals and the organization mission? 

2. Encourage grantees to include a budget line item to fund a volunteer engagement professional, volunteer resources management technology and software, and volunteer engagement training and coaching for staff.

3. Support executive leadership and boards in creating strong volunteer engagement cultures. Provide scholarships for professional development, training and networking opportunities for executive directors, directors of volunteer engagement and other organizational staff and volunteer leaders.

4. Facilitate or convene dialogue with other grant makers and community nonprofits on volunteer engagement strategies and best practices. Explore how you might enhance the volunteer engagement strategies of your grantees.

5. Provide funding for grantee organizations to become Service Enterprise certified or their volunteer engagement professional to become a Certified Volunteer Administrator.

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