5 Reasons Why You Should Track Your Volunteer Hours
Through the course of general nonprofit operations, directors track and analyze massive amounts of information. With all the time and effort your organization spends on these efforts, it is easy to set aside volunteer tracking as an unnecessary draw on already tight resources.
Yet, volunteer management is not just about reports, it can actually pay off for your nonprofit in a variety of different ways.
Here are 5 important reasons why your nonprofit should track volunteer hours:
- A Quick Refresher on Volunteer Hour Tracking
- #1: You Need the Data for Accurate ROI Calculation
- #2: Tracking Volunteer Hours Can Help Your Organization Secure Grants
- #3: It Supports Your Organizational Efforts To Recognize Volunteering Time
- #4: Allows For Reporting That Is Valued By Your Volunteers
- #5: Tracking Volunteer Hours Can Help You Identify Potential Recruits
A Quick Refresher on Volunteer Hour Tracking
Volunteer hour tracking involves collecting comprehensive data sets on a variety of different topics, not only for reporting purposes but also to enhance the quality of your volunteer program.
Lots of organizations collect information such as:
Volunteer contact information
This information in itself is useful to determine who your motivated, high-quality, and reliable workers are and have a visible representation of volunteer impact on your organization.
However, that is just the icing on the cake. Spending the time to track volunteer hours can pay dividends throughout other aspects of your organization as well.
Sadie is all refreshed on tracking volunteer hours!
Intrigued? Well, here are five other ways to utilize this helpful data.
#1: You Need the Data for Accurate ROI Calculation
The more accurate your data, the better you can paint a complete picture of your organization. Utilizing volunteer managers to keep records of this information allows you to understand the true cost of your program. In addition, you will have the data needed to evaluate your staffing options for different events such as fundraisers or awareness activities.
Hence, information from your comprehensive volunteer database is important to keep in mind throughout your board’s strategic decision-making processes.
#2: Tracking Volunteer Hours Can Help Your Organization Secure Grants
When seeking grants, an effective volunteer management system can serve as an excellent Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to add to your collected files.
While this information itself is not enough to assure that you are awarded a prospective grant, it will give you a leg up over other organizations during the consideration process. Many agencies that offer grants see volunteer hours as a reflection of your organization.
Volunteer tracking can provide benefits for essentially any type of grant application, whether government, corporate or foundation. As each grant you acquire provides invaluable funding, this is direct remuneration for time expended during data collection.
#3: It Supports Your Organizational Efforts To Recognize Volunteering Time
Tracking your volunteers allows you to see just how much hard work each individual puts in so you can truly appreciate their donated time.
Many nonprofits use their records to facilitate a culture of appreciation and awareness that can even be encouraged by increasing communication internally and externally regarding this data, perhaps even creating a volunteer newsletter.
Accurate and recorded data even opens the door to potentially offer rewards for hard work and exceptional time spent furthering the cause. There are many ways you can thank your volunteers though, so explore your options. You might even organize a volunteer appreciation month!
One important goal for showing how much you care and value these amazing people is that it is a beneficial component for any "how to retain volunteers" strategy.
Pro Tip: It is totally up to you to offer rewards or not, as it is not the key factor for motivating volunteers to join you in the first place. Yet, it is a plus because it is a way of building loyalty within your organization. For example, if you are a cultural or sports organization, you can offer special discounts or free sessions.
#4: Allows For Reporting That Is Valued By Your Volunteers
The power of strong, data-backed volunteer information can prove valuable opportunities for the volunteers themselves when seeking a job with a company. Many times, students require evidence of a certain quantity of volunteer hours to apply for scholarships or to demonstrate their experience working within a specific program of the industry.
Sam is putting together some volunteer reports!
Your helpers will appreciate your ability to provide timely and proficient verification, as well as an official report, for their time spent working to fulfill your organization’s vision and mission.
#5: Tracking Volunteer Hours Can Help You Identify Potential Recruits
When it comes to volunteer recruitment, it can be helpful to have a readily accessible "database" of potential hires when a new position opens within your organization or you need to replace an employee.
You will have contact information and a good representation of how much time these individuals have put into your organization, how reliable they were, and their effectiveness in performing different tasks.
Funders like to see nonprofits taking initiative to improve all aspects of the organization, and there are also advantages to hiring from your volunteer pool.
After all, these people know your organization, including how it works so they will need less training and will more than likely have increased loyalty, especially if they have already put a lot of hours into your organization.
Remember that sometimes your volunteers are also donors. Creating an incredible experience for them not only shows how much you care about every aspect of your organization and mission but speaks well for your reputation, drawing even more recruits, funders, members, and sponsors as well as larger donations.
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