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Volunteer Engagement: Assessing Organizational Readiness

Most nonprofit professionals, if asked, would say they can always use more volunteers to get work done and necessary tasks completed. There never seems to be enough time or hands to achieve all that we set out to do, so utilizing volunteers is key. Active and engaged volunteers will help us meet our mission and will become our greatest asset. 

Successful recruitment requires the support of the entire organization. It is important to assess your organization’s readiness and support for volunteers before you have them “reporting for duty”. 

Below are six questions to consider and answer before beginning your recruitment efforts:

1. Why do we want volunteers?

2. What expectations might a volunteer have when entering our organization?

3. What is our organization’s capacity to manage volunteers successfully?

4. Does our culture foster positive relationships between staff and volunteers?

5. Do we have written volunteer position descriptions for our specific needs?

6. Are there consistent policies and procedures for screening, assignment, and orientation?

A foundation must be in place before volunteers are recruited. There is a direct correlation in the quality of attention given to volunteers and the quality of their contribution. Volunteers have chosen your organization to give their time and talent, so you need to be ready to receive them and provide a meaningful experience. 

Have more questions about volunteer engagement?

Connect directly with peers and professinals in the field for real-time answers to your questions via the Volunteer Engagement Message Board powered by HandsOn Greater Richmond and the Greater Richmond Association for Volunteer Administrators (GRAVA).

How can I learn more?

Join volunteer and service leaders from the region’s nonprofit, corporate and government sectors for Virginia’s premier gathering of volunteer engagement professionals at GRAVA’s Annual Conference on July 10th to learn, connect, and be inspired through a wide range of informative workshops, expert speakers, and more! Register now.


Melissa M. Gilmore, M.Ed, CVA has worked in various capacities with volunteers for over 23 years. She is an accomplished trainer, facilitator, teacher, and volunteer administrator. She is a member of the Greater Richmond Association for Volunteer Administrators (GRAVA) and currently serves on their board. 

GRAVA is a professional membership organization that promotes and supports excellence in the management and leadership of volunteers in the Greater Richmond area through professional development, networking, and advocacy. Learn more

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