Tips for submitting volunteer projects

The most successful Goodcompany volunteer projects are made up of several simple ingredients. Once you get all these ingredients right, you have a much greater chance of receiving applications from volunteers.

If you haven't had any success finding a skilled volunteer, there are several reasons why this may be occurring.
  • Have you selected a catchy and informative title?
  • Have you provided the volunteer with a clear and concise request for their help?
  • Have you selected the most appropriate skill category(ies)?
  • Have you provided an indication of the time commitment required to complete the task?

Some Goodcompany tips on posting a volunteer role

Understanding the skill gaps

Before you post a volunteer position, it is worth taking the time to get really clear on your needs. The following questions may assist you in brainstorming opportunities and defining your needs for skilled volunteer projects

  • What have you often thought  “it would be great to........” but have never done?
  • What processes/systems are “clunky”  and would make life easier if they were different?
  • What training do you, your staff, your volunteers need to help you work better or more efficiently?
  • If you were starting from scratch, what would you do differently or better?
  • Do you have a business plan? Do you need strategic business planning advice?
  • Is your organisation keeping up with technology – are there new technologies that could help you work/communicate with your customer base better?
  • Are you asked by your client base for new/different support, programs, activities to what you currently provide?  What would be needed to implement this?
  • How well known is your organisation?  Would you like to increase your profile?
  • Are you planning an event that could be supported by skilled volunteers – would you like photographers to capture the event, graphic design for posters or a press release for media coverage?
  • Do any of your staff, committee or board members need advice/mentoring so they can perform their role better?

 

Tip 1. Included specific details about the project

The more specific you make your volunteer project, the more chance you will have of success. 66% of our volunteers said the factor that most influences whether they will respond to a volunteer project are a skills/interest match.

Include specific information about the work that is involved in the project, the skills required, the location (can the work be done remotely) and even the personal attributes you're looking for. A general estimate of time required is often better than no indication at all.

Tip 2. Consider short term projects

Charities can have more success finding a volunteer when they submit volunteer project for short term projects rather than requesting ongoing assistance. Most of our volunteers work full time and are interested in volunteering their skills for a specific period of time. After the specific volunteer project is fulfilled, you may be able to develop an ongoing relationship with that volunteer.

Tip 3. Describe the difference it will make to your organisation

One of the reasons volunteers choose to join GoodCompany is so they can give back to the community. If you describe the difference that this volunteer project will make to your organisation this is a huge incentive for volunteers. For example, if you can demonstrate that the volunteer project is an important part of your organisation's efforts to, e.g. address youth homelessness, rather than just 'help" it will have a greater impact on the volunteer.

Tip 4. Submit more than one project

Please feel free to have several projects running at any given time. We love it when you make the most of the service. You are able to have the projects set to "live" (viewable on the site) or "hide" (still on your account but not on the viewable on the site). This will allow you to manage when you wish to receive applications ie "hide" the role when you have received enough applications.

Tip 5. Consider how you will vet the candidates

Please remember that candidates will be replying to the brief you set out in the project. If you need specific skills, or specific standard of skills, ensure this is stated clearly. In order to get the most from our skills matching technology, ensure you carefully consider what categories to include. In the end, it is the charity that must vet the applicants and this will be much easier if the role/project needs are clearly stated from the outset.

 

Skilled and Willing Volunteers

What volunteers are saying

When we surveyed our volunteers, the main reason preventing them from volunteering was that there were no volunteer projects that matched their skills/interests or availability.

We like to promote as many new volunteer projects as possible. New volunteer projects keep our volunteers engaged and it makes them more interested in offering their skills.

Want more detailed feedback?

Part of our feedback and reporting process involves asking volunteers what tips they have for community groups and vice versa. Here is some of the advice we have received from volunteers - and it seems to come down to flexibility, clear communication and good feedback.

"It's really important that when a volunteer expresses interest in a position, that a decision is made quickly (within a few days) regarding whether to proceed with their application. This initial communication stage will often determine the success of a project.

“It’s the same as any collaborative process; clear communication, defining skills and working with deadlines are the key.”

“Be very clear about the outcomes required from the [volunteer project] and how many hours each party can put towards its completion. Both parties need to be flexible, as far as possible, to allow the [volunteer project] to be completed to its highest potential taking into account the other responsibilities both the volunteer and [community group] have in their roles”.

...everybody is pretty busy these days, so after the initial scoping meeting try to stick to the agreed topics and timelines.”

"Give plenty of information and insight into what you’re looking for. Provide feedback along the way when the volunteer wants to check they’re on the right track. Be flexible with time as sometimes its challenging working full-time “in a corporate environment and doing a major project in volunteering.”

(If you have a tip that you would like to share with us, please contact us at supportnzt@goodcompany.org)

What are you waiting for? We have loads of volunteers happy, willing and able to help. Why not take them up on their generosity? Register here today and start submitting your new volunteer projects.

 

Responding to an application

Shortlist = volunteer is emailed with message from the charity advising of the intent to progress the application. Please then proceed to set up further times to connect with this potential volunteer.

Deny = Goodcompany will notify the volunteer that it is not a good fit and their application will not be progressed

  • Acknowledge and respond to an application in a timely manner. How and when you communicate will often determine the success of the volunteer relationship.
  • Feel free to ask for a resume, or portfolio before progressing the shortlisted volunteers
 

 If the application isn’t suitable

  • GoodCompany doesn’t screen volunteers from the public.  Use the application process to screen your volunteers.

  • If the volunteer is not “a good fit”, they might be suitable for another project. If not, don’t despair and don't give up sourcing skilled volunteers for your organisation.  Try again!

  • You may not have made your expectations clear in your original request for help.  Reconsider the project brief and rewrite the description incorporating the changes.

 

So you found someone that sounds perfect, what’s next?

Remember before you meet

  • Be very clear, in your own mind, what you are asking this volunteer to do
  • You need to consider there are risks in engaging any volunteer. Take action to manage these, starting with using your standard practice to vet volunteers as Goodcompany does not do this.
  • Make sure your volunteer and public liability insurance is current