Best practices for engaging online volunteers and establishing long-term relationships

February 28, 2022

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, virtual volunteering has become one of the most significant means for Nonprofit organizations to engage volunteers. And it's here to stay, with the benefits of virtual volunteering becoming more apparent. As a result, it is critical that you better engage your volunteers online and develop long-term connections with them.

  1. Assessing suitable volunteers: It is critical to evaluate the volunteer's expectations and abilities in accordance with the responsibilities at hand. Examine their résumé and ask important questions such as their time commitment, Interests, preferred language, etc to better understand their fit to your organization. 
  1. Introduce your organization: Conduct an online orientation that introduces your organization and welcomes all new volunteers, whether it's through a webpage, a video, or anything else. It helps your volunteer understand what your organization is working on and how your volunteer’s work will impact the community. 
  1. Provide your Virtual Volunteers with all the necessary information: Clearly stating the project's requirements and outcomes will enable the volunteer in completing the task efficiently. Make sure your virtual volunteers have access to the data, tools, and expertise they need to fulfill their tasks. You have to make sure to set certain ground rules in place as you may be sharing your organization’s data with the volunteers. 
  1. Create Connections: Virtual volunteering allows you to create a diversified team, so provide time for volunteers and staff to get to know one another. Assign each volunteer a specific contact person and be clear in your interactions with them; make information accessible to them. 
  1. Communication is essential for virtual volunteering to be successful: Create a work plan for your virtual volunteer that includes well-defined goals, expected tasks, and how you plan to evaluate achievement, as well as weekly reporting. Examine their work and give them feedback. Because feedback is intended to help people improve their performance, being sympathetic is always beneficial. You should also solicit feedback from your volunteers on how virtual volunteering is working for them, and keep minor details in mind, such as time zone differences. Recognize and appreciate the efforts of your volunteers.
  1. Offer your volunteers an opportunity to grow: Volunteers are more likely to stay engaged when they are given possibilities for growth. Use the interactions you have with volunteers to discover the skills they want to learn so you can provide them opportunities to learn and grow. Keep in touch with them via email updates of your organization. 

Volunteers are an important part of your organization. Keeping your volunteers' passion, energy, and interest in your organization's goal is vital to retain volunteers for the long term.

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