Volunteer engagement has been evolving for years, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations were forced to accelerate change at an unprecedented rate. With only a few exceptions, organizations either chose to adapt or temporarily shut down their volunteer efforts.

While safety precautions have led to dramatic increases in virtual volunteering, even organizations that have been able to engage some volunteers in person have to provide services in new ways – like contactless deliveries or shorter shifts to minimize potential exposure to the virus. Many agencies have created entirely new volunteer opportunities to address needs, including wellness calls to isolated adults or tutoring assistance.

With all these changes, organizations are revisiting longstanding policies and procedures for recruiting volunteers. Meanwhile, with so many long-time volunteers taking time off from active volunteering for safety reasons, organizations are also challenged to redefine what retention means.

Disruptions are challenging, yet they are not all bad. Innovations in how we engage volunteers can serve our organizations well as our communities begin to return to more normal operations. Leaders of volunteers who are willing to rethink traditional strategies for recruitment and retention can harness these innovations for greater success in the future – keeping what works and being willing to re-engineer or leave behind those practices that no longer serve.

VQ has once again partnered with Sterling Volunteers to offer a free, downloadable eToolkit featuring a step-by-step guide to rethinking recruitment and retention. Included are five tools you can use immediately to plan for – and achieve! – greater success in recruiting and retaining volunteers amid the uncertainties that define our current times. Download it today!