45 Unique & Useful Projects for Skilled Volunteers
“Skilled volunteers” may be a bit of a misnomer. After all, 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 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. In 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.
45 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?
Policies & Procedures
1. Reviewing your volunteer manual to ensure it meets legal requirements
2. Reviewing the organization’s employee fringe benefits structure to improve it
3. Reviewing the organization’s client intake process to find greater efficiencies
4. Writing a communications messaging platform for your organization
5. Developing a document retention policy and plan
6. Conducting a job analysis to determine if staff workloads are realistic
7. Leading an agency strategic planning session with employees and volunteers
8. Reviewing your program outcome data for insights for decision making
9. Translating agency materials into foreign languages
10. Developing a code of ethics for the organization
11. Improving the sales operations of the organization’s retail-based business
12. Create a change management strategy to introduce a major policy update
13. Optimizing your organization’s current IT structures and databases
14. Creating a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy so your website is easily found on Google
15. Developing an automated email marketing campaign to engage newcomers
16. Redesigning a logo and a brand standards guide to increase consistency
17. Developing a realistic and achievable social media strategy
18. A/B testing your website’s calls to action and landing pages
19. Developing a digital media tracking process, metrics, and template
20. Transcribing handwritten or recorded comments into a digital document
21. Designing an online dashboard to publicly report the agency’s progress
22. Developing professional-looking presentation slide and handout templates
23. Re-designing the organization’s data collection forms for improved usability
24. Shooting and editing a volunteer appreciation or welcome video
25. Monitoring, curating, and amplifying social media messages
Funding & Grants
26. Conducting audience research to identify donor needs and key talking points
27. Preparing a financial analysis of the organization to create a sustainable plan
28. Copywriting key content for your next fundraising campaign
29. Setting up an accounting system that is accurate and reliable
30. Proofreading and editing grant applications and reports
31. Converting a paper-based volunteer tracking system to digital one
32. Conducting a volunteer or beneficiary survey to improve satisfaction
33. Recommending a learning management system for your volunteers
34. Investigating the core causes of volunteer retention and turnover
35. Lead staff-volunteer team building activities to increase trust and morale
36. Developing a volunteer recruitment strategy to boost inquiries
37. Presenting leadership training to paid employees and volunteers
38. Training staff and volunteer spokespeople to present to the press effectively
39. Leading a youth or adult employability fair for service beneficiaries
40. Forming a knitting or quilt club to create warm items for those you serve
41. Designing and maintaining a low-maintenance landscape
42. Compiling a list of community events and creating an outreach plan
43. Review ways the agency can increase accessibility for people with disabilities
44. Fixing or upgrading facilities like plumbing or electrical fixtures
45. Reaching out to reporters to generate free, earned media for your cause
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.