Finding the right volunteers, particularly those who offer remote skilled services, can be transformative for your non-profit.
Skilled volunteers can bring valuable expertise, helping you realise your organisation’s vision while enabling more impactful work, even if you only have limited resources to work with.
Here’s a guide on how to effectively find and select the most suitable remote volunteers for your non-profit.
1. Clearly Define the Role
Before embarking on the search, have a clear and concise role description ready. Outline the skills required, the scope of work, the time commitment, and any other expectations you have from the volunteer. A well-defined role will not only help attract the right candidates but also set clear expectations from the outset.
2. Leverage Online Platforms and Networks
There are several online platforms where non-profits can find skilled volunteers. Websites like LinkedIn or specifically designed volunteer-matching sites (like Copalana!) can be valuable resources. Also, don’t underestimate the power of your own network and those of your colleagues. A personal recommendation can often lead to finding the perfect match.
3. Employ Targeted Recruitment Strategies
To find volunteers with specific skills, adopt a more targeted approach. If you require someone with expertise in graphic design, for example, consider reaching out to design forums, university departments, or professional groups. For each role, think about where potential candidates might spend their time online and target those spaces.
Some platforms, like Copalana, periodically send out volunteer opportunity alerts to candidates with the skillsets you require. Make sure you’re properly listing and defining those skills so those alerts are useful.
4. Screen Applicants Thoroughly
Once the applications start rolling in, screen candidates thoroughly. Check their backgrounds, qualifications, and previous volunteering experiences. Consider conducting video interviews to assess their communication skills, commitment, and compatibility with your organisation’s values and mission.
5. Assess Skills and Experience
For skilled volunteering roles, having the right expertise is crucial. Assess applicants' skills and experience relevant to the role. Ask for work samples, portfolios, or references to verify their competency. Ensure that their skill level aligns with the demands of the role.
6. Gauge Motivation and Commitment
Understanding why a candidate wants to volunteer with your organisation is pivotal. Look for individuals who are genuinely passionate about your cause and are likely to stay committed. A candidate who resonates with your mission is more likely to contribute meaningfully and stay engaged for the long term.
7. Ensure Cultural Fit
The volunteer should not only have the right skills but also fit well within your organisation's culture. Assess their values, working style, and interpersonal skills to determine if they will integrate well with your team and work effectively.
8. Clearly Communicate Expectations
Transparency is key when onboarding new volunteers. Clearly communicate your expectations regarding work hours, deliverables, and any other obligations. Ensure they understand the scope of their role and responsibilities, even if they are working remotely.
9. Provide Training and Support
Even skilled volunteers might require some training and support to familiarise themselves with your organisation's processes and systems. Ensure they have access to all the necessary resources and information to perform their tasks effectively.
10. Foster a Sense of Community
Building a sense of community is crucial, especially for remote volunteers. Regular check-ins, virtual meetings, and inclusive communication can help them feel connected and valued. Encourage interactions among volunteers and staff to foster a collaborative and supportive environment.
11. Keep the Door Open for Feedback
Create an open and receptive atmosphere where volunteers feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feedback. Regularly ask for their opinions and suggestions and be responsive to their needs and concerns. This will not only improve their experience but can also provide valuable insights for your organisation.
12. Recognise and Appreciate Their Contributions
Acknowledging the efforts and contributions of your volunteers is crucial. Regular appreciation, whether through a simple thank-you note, public recognition, or tokens of appreciation, can go a long way in making volunteers feel valued and motivated.
Finding the right remote skilled volunteer requires a thoughtful approach, encompassing clear role definition, targeted recruitment, meticulous screening, and ongoing support and appreciation. While the process might seem extensive, the right volunteer can bring immense value to your non-profit, contributing significantly to achieving your mission and objectives.
In the age of remote work, skilled volunteering opens up a realm of possibilities, allowing non-profits to tap into a global pool of talents and expertise. By investing time and effort in finding and choosing the right volunteer, non-profits can build mutually rewarding relationships and elevate their impact to new heights.
By leveraging these strategies, non-profits can navigate the challenges of remote skilled volunteer recruitment and set the stage for long-lasting, impactful collaborations.