How to Preserve Volunteer Knowledge

How to Preserve Volunteer Knowledge

Volunteers are the backbone of any nonprofit organization. When new volunteers join your team, they have a great deal to learn. You might dedicate a lot of time and resources to training new volunteers, but there’s an easier way. You can pass down volunteer knowledge to new recruits by storing information all in one place. 

The faster you can get everyone on the same page, the faster your team can get to business. Storing knowledge for future volunteer access streamlines the training process. That way, you can lessen the burden on existing members to train new ones. You can also promote volunteer retention — when new volunteers are in the loop, they’ll feel like part of the team and be more inclined to stick around. Learn how to preserve organizational knowledge within your non-profit. 

When you use organizational software to store information, you save everyone from frustration.

How Using a Volunteer Management System Can Help Keep Track of Important Information

You may be wondering how to preserve institutional knowledge. It might seem like a monumental task to store and maintain all of your organization’s information. That’s when volunteer management software comes in handy. You can use this software to keep everything in one place. The software can store all important information for new volunteers to review, including: 

  • Notes on the position’s responsibilities. 
  • Helpful tips and tricks. 
  • Time-tracking and scheduling expectations. 
  • Available opportunities for the future. 

Using the VicNet online volunteer portal, your volunteers can easily access all information. They can also receive messages from organizers or volunteer managers to keep communication lines flowing. Using a volunteer management system can help you to keep everyone on the same page. 

Having access to the information they need can help volunteers feel more confident and like they are part of the team — which can improve new volunteer retention as well. Volunteers can also find answers to their own questions, which saves everyone time. You’ll be able to dedicate less time and energy to training each new volunteer — instead, you can focus on achieving your organization’s objectives. 

When you use organizational software to store information, you save everyone from frustration. New volunteers will be free from the frustration of feeling out of the loop, and veterans will be free from the frustration of explaining everything over and over again. This can boost the efficiency of your organization. 

Using software like this has plenty of other benefits as well. It helps you increase volunteer accountability, simplify scheduling and planning, show your appreciation through volunteer spotlights, and store volunteer documents. You know how much goes into managing a nonprofit. Dedicated software can help you keep everything organized.

Have Multiple People in the Same Position at the Same Time

In addition to using volunteer management software, you can promote smooth operation by having multiple volunteers in the same position at the same time. This is an important strategy for dealing with volunteer turnover. Any organization relying on volunteers deals with turnover to some extent — high schoolers go off to college, adults have to focus on other responsibilities, and so on. When a volunteer leaves, their experience and knowledge leaves with them. 

That’s why it’s so important to spread that experience and knowledge across multiple volunteers. You need to have someone else standing by who can fulfill their responsibilities. For smooth adjustment, it’s always a good idea to keep more than one person in the same position.

Ideally, you’d want retiring volunteers to help train new ones before they leave the organization, but there might not be enough time to do so. The volunteer who’s leaving might not be able to help during their replacement’s recruitment and orientation. But new recruits have an easier, more effective training if they have someone experienced to help them learn. An experienced volunteer can demonstrate tasks, answer questions, and lessen anxiety. Mentor-based training makes for faster integration and stronger social connections. 

For that reason, if you have the means, keep multiple volunteers in the same positions. This is especially important for upper-tier positions involving a lot of experience and education. That way, when a veteran volunteer has to leave your organization, you’ll be able to carry on. 

Documenting the ins and outs of each unique position can improve the efficiency and professionalism of your organization.

Benefits of Spreading Out Responsibilities to Different Positions

It’s also a good idea to break up responsibilities across different positions. Giving each volunteer a niche will allow them to become an expert in a specific area. As a result, volunteers will accumulate knowledge to help your organization improve. Additionally, each volunteer will feel valued and important, rather than feeling like identical cogs in a machine. 

You can use volunteer management software to keep track of which positions hold which information. This will help you write accurate, detailed job descriptions to recruit new volunteers and encourage upward mobility within your organization. It’ll also help you refer questions to the right people for better efficiency. 

Encourage your volunteers to keep track of their knowledge and share it with others. Documenting the ins and outs of each unique position can improve the efficiency and professionalism of your organization. 

How to Train New Volunteers

All new volunteers need training. Ultimately, new volunteer orientation is about getting everyone on the same page and establishing a sense of community. You can streamline volunteer training by encouraging volunteers to keep track of their experiences and knowledge. Organized documentation of helpful tips and tricks can help new volunteers get on board with confidence and ease. 

Experience-based knowledge should be the lifeblood of your volunteer training process. This could involve one-on-one mentor-based training, new volunteer checklists, and reading materials of real-life volunteer stories. Pair new volunteers with veterans in the same position so they can learn from experts. 

Encourage discussing insights during and beyond training. Use online discussion forums and in-person meetings to give volunteers the opportunity to share their discoveries, tips, strategies, and personal stories. Allow new volunteers to engage in these conversations. You never know which fresh insights might help your whole organization improve. 

Prompt your volunteers to share often. Make sure they feel their thoughts are welcomed and valued. Set aside designated times and places for sharing ideas, and document those ideas for later review. 

Learn More About Volunteer Management From Volgistics 

Volunteers are the most important resource for your non-profit, but volunteers come and go. Preserving the knowledge and skills they acquire over time can improve every aspect of your organization. When everyone has access to a library of information specific to your organization, operation becomes much smoother. 

Encouraging volunteers to share their tips, insights, and experiences can help them feel valued and respected. It can also help new volunteers feel more confident and prepared as they start out. Volgistics provides the volunteer management software you need that allows you to keep all this information in one place. Learn more about volunteer management software and how it can benefit your organization.