“Skilled volunteers” may be a bit of a misnomer. Afterall, all volunteers have skills. That said, targeted professional services and expertise can have a deep impact on your organization’s ability to meet its mission and strengthen its capacity for future sustainability.
Most organizations don’t have the budget to bring aboard paid staff with high-level expertise in areas like IT, human resources, or legal support. That’s where professional volunteers come in. Due to their depth of experience and training in their field of expertise, they can implement a project successfully and in less time than people without their skilled backgrounds.
Nonprofit staff may at first resist the idea of skilled or pro bono volunteers. All resourceful nonprofit professionals can be fiercely independent. We take pride in our self-sufficiency. But rather than trying to muddle through a complex task or project, why not recruit a professional volunteer to take the reins?
Skilled Volunteers as Capacity Builders
We often think of skilled volunteers in roles such as pro bono legal aid, but freelance volunteers can offer even much more. Volunteers can help with IT, strategy, marketing, and human resources, to name a few.
Engaging skilled volunteers specifically for capacity building projects can be a smart investment. At nonprofits, these projects are often shelved due to more pressing concerns. But, they have the benefit of helping take your nonprofit or government program to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity. If the project is successful, you’ll be able to more effectively and efficiently advance your mission.
50 Projects for Skilled Volunteers
Below is a list of projects that skilled volunteers might take on. Which would have the most impact on the future success of your organization?
1. Reviewing your volunteer manual to ensure it meets legal requirements
2. Optimizing your organization’s current IT structures and databases
3. Developing a volunteer recruitment strategy to boost inquiries
4. Increasing the usability of your website to enhance engagement
5. Conducting audience research to identify donor needs and key talking points
6. Converting a paper-based volunteer tracking system to digital one
7. Preparing a financial analysis of the organization to create a sustainable plan
8. Creating a search engine optimization (SEO) plan so your website is found
9. Conducting a volunteer survey and focus groups to improve satisfaction
10. Renovating an outdated volunteer orientation training for better learning
11. Developing an automated email marketing campaign to engage newcomers
12. Redesigning a logo and a brand standards guide to increase consistency
13. Presenting leadership training to paid employees and volunteers
14. Conducting a service beneficiary survey to improve satisfaction and results
15. Reviewing the organization’s employee fringe benefits structure to improve it
16. Developing a social media strategy that is realistic and achievable
17. Reviewing the organization’s client intake process to find greater efficiencies
18. Crashing your organization’s website for a quick weekend renovation
19. Copywriting key content for your next fundraising campaign
20. A/B testing your website’s calls to action and landing pages
21. Reaching out to reporters to generate free, earned media for your cause
22. Writing a communications messaging platform for your organization
23. Developing a document retention policy and plan for the organization
24. Recommending a learning management system for your volunteers
25. Conducting a job analysis to determine if staff workloads are realistic
26. Leading an agency strategic planning session with employees and volunteers
27. Reviewing your program outcome data for insights for decision making
28. Setting up an accounting system that is accurate and reliable
29. Developing a digital media tracking process, metrics, and template
30. Translating agency materials into multiple foreign languages
31. Developing a code of ethics for the organization
32. Leading a youth or adult employability fair for service beneficiaries
33. Transcribing handwritten or recorded comments into a digital document
34. Designing an online dashboard to publicly report the agency’s progress
35. Training staff and volunteer spokespeople to present to the press effectively
36. Developing professional-looking presentation slide and handout templates
37. Evaluating the outcomes of an initiative in an objective, unbiased way
38. Forming a knitting or quilt club to create warm items for those you serve
39. Investigating the core causes of volunteer retention and turnover
40. Proofreading and edits grant applications and reports
41. Designing and maintaining a low-maintenance landscape at your agency
42. Compiling a list of community events and creating an outreach plan
43. Improving the sales operations of the organization’s retail-based business
44. Re-design the organization’s data collection forms for improved usability
45. Lead staff-volunteer team building activities to increase trust and morale
46. Create a change management strategy to introduce a major change in policy
47. Review ways the agency can increase accessibility for people with disabilities
48. Fixing or upgrading facilities like plumbing or electrical fixtures
49. Shooting and editing a volunteer appreciation or welcome video
50. Monitoring, curating, and amplifying social media messages
These are only a few ideas. The sky really is the limit. Consider the core needs of your organization and decide how you want to engage skilled volunteers in helping you grow and sustain your mission.
Want to Learn More?
In our April 25 [Webinar] How to Go Big With Skilled Volunteers & Pro Bono Talent, we’ll cover how to find skilled volunteers and set them up for success. Join us and learn how to enlist the help of volunteers with specialized skills that can complete complex projects at little or no cost.
Get more info & register here — https://volpro.net/webinar-skills-based-pro-bono-volunteers/