Volunteers have served virtually for decades, but now, the need for engaging volunteers to serve remotely is greater than ever, and the technology to support such engagement is more accessible and accepted than ever. Regulations and concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic continue to inspire organizations to reconsider how both volunteers and employees work. While resistance to engaging volunteers remotely was common historically, the recent increase in having staff members work remotely has helped to break down that resistance. With more openness to staff and volunteers working virtually, the question now shifts from whether an organization is ready to engage virtual volunteers to instead focusing on how to do it well for best results.
While engaging volunteers in any role should involve assessing needs, crafting volunteer position descriptions, recruiting and screening thoughtfully, equipping those volunteers for success, and measuring and celebrating their impact, engaging volunteers virtually and doing so effectively takes more planning and intention since those volunteers are not in the cubicle next door or office down the hall. Plus, it remains important to build support and buy-in from those staff members who may remain hesitant to engage virtual volunteers either because they are unsure of the benefits or don’t know how to support and hold virtual volunteers accountable. To help you with strategies and resources to build that support, we are happy to present another eToolkit in partnership with Sterling Volunteers — Engaging Virtual Volunteers: Recruit, Ready, and Retain a Powerful Pool of Talent. Download yours today!