7 steps to advance your volunteer program with your online member community

Volunteers are an important part of your association! You likely leverage your association management software (AMS) to manage, recruit, retain, and engage your member volunteers. But have you considered leveraging your online member community to give your volunteer program a boost? 

Read our blog for seven tips to use your online member community to enhance your volunteer program!

Want to learn more strategies to advance volunteer engagement? Watch our on-demand webinar: Transform your volunteer program with trailblazing technology. Watch now.

7 tips to use your online member community to boost your volunteer program

Are you ready to enhance your volunteer program? Invest in your online member community to advance your volunteer engagement.

Here’s how to get started using your online community platform to transform your volunteer program: 

1. Welcome new volunteers

Leverage your online member community to help new volunteers feel welcome to your program. When a member volunteer joins your program, be sure to extend a warm welcome in your member community, make introductions, and get your new volunteers connected within your existing volunteer program groups.

2. Create and manage different volunteer groups

To encourage and facilitate conversation between your member volunteers, use your online community platform to create different groups. Consider grouping volunteer groups based on service roles, veteran volunteers and new volunteers, a general volunteer program news source, and more.

If your volunteer program is large, you might want to add more groups to ensure conversation flows more freely. If your program is smaller, start with fewer groups and build from there. Have a staff member ready to moderate discussion and promote the start of new conversations.  

3. Host volunteer training

Ensure your member volunteers are prepared for their roles by providing adequate training. Consider using your online member community to conduct volunteer training sessions either by facilitating virtual discussions or by creating online videos where members can watch and react. 

In your training sessions be sure to include the following: 

  • How volunteers should handle their specific tasks 
  • The goals for a position 
  • The required equipment for a role 
  • A general walkthrough of tasks 

4. Provide access to resources and tools

Boost volunteer engagement by offering volunteer resources and tools in your online community. Your online community platform should be your member volunteers’ go-to resource for all sorts of pertinent information about your volunteer program.

Your staff and can easily share resources within your volunteer program groups. Additionally, volunteer program leaders can connect members with the tools they most need.

5. Attract more member volunteers

Hoping to recruit more members to your volunteer program? Your online community platform can help! Community Brands research found 51% of members rely on their professional organization the most for networking, collaboration, sharing ideas, and participating in a professional community. Additionally, members who leverage online community platforms report a stronger sense of community.

When you utilize your online community, you can attract new members to your association, ultimately driving new volunteers to serve your organization.

6. Recognize and appreciate volunteer successes

Take time to thank your volunteers for their hard work, offering recognition and appreciation in your online community platform. Consider using your online community to shoutout your volunteers to highlight certain member volunteer milestones and successes.

For example, you could celebrate one, two, or five years of service at your organization. You could also recognize new volunteers who’ve just joined your volunteer program, helping them to network with more established member volunteers.

7. Poll volunteers

To stay up to date on your member volunteer’s interests and needs, you’ll want to seek and act on their feedback. You can accomplish this by polling your volunteers. With a poll or volunteer survey, you can gain statistically beneficial answers, while simultaneously empowering your members and boosting your volunteer retention efforts.

Consider asking your member volunteers the following questions:  

  • What motivates them to serve? 
  • Do you find your volunteer work impactful? 
  • How would you rate your current volunteer experience?
  • Do we offer enough training opportunities?
  • Are there training opportunities we don’t offer, but you’d like to participate in?


TECH TIP: To routinely seek your volunteers' feedback and give your members the space to share their voice, use Nimble Communities. Activate the Nimble Communities’ polls feature to get a clear sense of what your volunteers are thinking, and initiate change based on the feedback.

How your online community is key to enhancing volunteer engagement

Are you ready to take your volunteer program to the next level? Learn even more strategies in our free whitepaper: The association’s complete guide to managing its volunteer program.


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