A Practical Process Guide to Getting and Keeping Your Volunteers


By Laura Steuer of Blue Avocado on September 25, 2023

(Note: A volunteer is really like an employee, just unpaid at NPC, all of us are volunteers – the working Board, some filling important “staff roles,” and Members of our Committees: Development, Finance, Membership, and Programs. More than ever, we need processes to “recruit, train, mentor, and appreciate our volunteers”. If you’re interested, we’re always looking for quality volunteers!)

“Providing your nonprofit’s volunteers with the same recruitment, training, mentoring, and appreciation as your employees can reduce turnover and create a better overall volunteer experience.

The stronger your volunteer program, the stronger your nonprofit will be in fulfilling its mission.

As nonprofit leaders, we know that volunteers are the backbone of our work. We know that they contribute countless hours of time and commitment to our organization, making projects possible that our budgets otherwise simply can’t afford.

Currently, the national average value of one volunteer hour is $25.63 (more than three times the $7.25 federal minimum wage and about comparable to the average $29.80 of a nonprofit employee).

Nonprofits everywhere are desperate to find volunteers, and it’s easy to see the tremendous economic benefit your volunteers bring to your organization. Yet so often, especially in small to midsize nonprofits, we are unsure about effective ways to find and manage quality volunteer cohorts. And given the post-pandemic decrease in volunteering nationwide, it’s crucial for us to keep those volunteers that we already have.

We tend to shy away from this key concept: A volunteer is really like an employee, just unpaidFor years, effective for-profit companies have numerous, specific processes to recruit, train, onboard, mentor, develop, and appreciate their employees. While the nonprofit sector has also been getting onboard with the importance of training its employees, the reality is that we should do no less for our volunteers.

What Do We Need: Processes!

To recruit, train, mentor, and appreciate our volunteers, we need standardized processes that can be repeated, iterated, and scaled. Why? Because no one wants to reinvent the wheel every time they need a new volunteer.” Read more.


Nonprofit Connection Santa Cruz County is a 501(c)3 corporation, Federal Tax ID# 87-2130376

PO Box 1894
Soquel, CA 95073

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