Creating a Better On-boarding Process for Your Volunteers

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Charities and non-profit organisations play an increasingly important role in today’s social and political climates. Non-profits put helping others at the forefront of the equation. Whether aligned with a particular cause or special interest group or merely providing valuable and much-needed service to those without, those of us who are aligned with charities and non-profits are on the frontlines of a better world for tomorrow.

For those who are hiring or work in HR at non-profit, charity-focused organisations, there’s one specific difficulty that tends to crop up: Finding the right volunteers.

When it comes to serving others, there’s hardly a single individual who could be considered a poor candidate for charity work. But when it’s a recognisable global organisation that’s at the center, driving social or economic change, it’s important for the volunteers working there to believe in what that organisation stands for.

So how can you recruit volunteers who align with your charity’s principles and values? Fortunately, revamping your onboarding process by putting the right systems in place can eliminate the gamble and guesswork when it comes to assembling a team of volunteers for your charity organisation.


What is onboarding? Why is it the key?

All companies and organizations — whether not-for-profit or for-profit — will have some type of onboarding process for new hires and recruits. Basically, onboarding refers to the steps that you implement to familiarise someone with your organisation as you incorporate roles or her on your team.

Depending on how your particular organisation handles onboarding, this process can entail a number of components, including orientation, teaching the history of the organisation, and some basic training. For the onboarding individual, this process is when he or she learns of the charities expectations.

So why is onboarding key to ensuring that your new recruits align with the values and objectives of your non-profit? And how can you make your onboarding process better?

To be clear, onboarding is as much for learning about your new recruit as it is for the new recruit to learn about your charity. To make the most of the onboarding process from an administrative viewpoint, the right process and software can be your secret weapon.


Choosing the right talent management software

Talent management software is an essential asset for medium to large sized nonprofits and charities that oversee numerous volunteers and contributors. In brief, talent management software — which will be most familiar to those in the HR department — serves as a centralized resource for talent. More specifically, it’s a program that streamlines and improves your acquisition process, helps make training more efficient, documents performance, and is instrumental in ensuring that the right people are put in the right rolls.

When you’re running a charity organisation, using a high-quality talent management program during the onboarding process will provide you with an accessible, organized space in which to document pertinent information about recruits. As you obtain crucial information about candidates and assess whether their values align with those of your organization, talent management software is a place to store all this information for future reference.

It’s worth noting, too, that utilizing talent management software helps you to offer a better onboarding experience. According to a recent survey, more than half of individuals will depart an organisation due to having had a poor onboarding experience.

Given the importance of talent management software, it’s equally important to choose the right software solution for your charity’s needs.

For example, if your priority is to streamline volunteer recruitment and acquisition, you might choose a program with more of those types of features, including options for posting volunteering opportunities, customizable applications, templates for candidate communications, and built-in options for posting openings on various job sites.

If you’re more concerned with the onboarding process specifically, you might look for a talent management program that can help you create and/or manage a web portal for new recruits with various tracking tools for managers and administrators.

Alternately, it’s possible that your main priority is goal alignment, which refers to measuring and tracking performance as it relates to organizational objectives. If this is the case, you might want to focus on talent management solutions that are more focused on goal-setting and talent development.


Putting it all together

Volunteers build a great foundation for any non-profit or charity operation. It is important to take a step back and evaluate the types of volunteers needed for any event, task, or team. Having the right technology and onboarding strategy will not only provide you the means to manage your volunteers it will also keep them happy and eager to continue to dedicate time and effort to your organisation.

Tags: recruitment, volunteers

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About the author

Dane O'Leary

Dane O’Leary is a writer, tech journalist and regular contributor to TrustRadius where he shares his knowledge on the latest trends in B2B news and technologies. He has written editorials, articles, and blog posts for some of the most popular publications on the web, including Android Authority, Phone Arena,, and Millennial Magazine.