“No job is finished until the paperwork is done.”
Unfortunately, that dictum can be true not only for nonprofit managers and staffers but also for volunteers.
Yes, occasionally volunteers are asked to fill out forms or submit some kind of documentation relating to the volunteering they do. They usually look forward to the task with all the enthusiasm of galley slaves getting their seat assignments.
After all the time they have spent directing traffic, putting up signs or helping confused donors, none of which they have been paid for, they are ready to call it a day.
- Susan J. Ellis, a nonprofit and volunteering consultant based in Philadelphia, Pa., urges managers to encourage volunteers to submit information that will be helpful to organization leaders. To inspire volunteers to provide that needed information, Ellis advises the following:
- Explain why the report was important and how the data gathered will be used. Don’t ask volunteers to do it if nobody will never read or use the information.
- Consider what is important to learn and ask only those questions, designing a report that is tailored to each volunteer assignment.
- Ask questions that make sense and have meaning.
- Offer options to report by email, on paper by mail or drop-off, by fax, by voice on a dedicated answering machine line or online via a survey tool.
- Thank them when it’s over.
- Share non-confidential information.
- Report to the volunteers on what the nonprofit is doing.
- React, even occasionally, to something reported by volunteers.