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Online Resources for Volunteer Matching

Finding volunteers is one of the most important aspects of what many nonprofit organizations do. That's not to say that volunteer recruitment should be an organization's mission statement or anything. Still, for so many nonprofits, progress relies heavily upon the ability to recruit, train, and retain qualified, enthusiastic volunteers.

This means that volunteers should be a major line item in any nonprofit's operating budget. Hiring a qualified volunteer manager is one area in which the return on investment can't be overstated. Finding volunteers is a huge part of the job description, but retaining those volunteers should be a nonprofit organization's focus; and this generally requires a human touch.

As far as recruitment goes, there are only so many avenues to explore when looking for volunteers. Granted, we could all probably afford to be a little more creative in our searches, but the basics are there: newspapers, like-minded organizations, and civic events. Most nonprofits have learned not to go anywhere without a clipboard and pen to sign up potential volunteers.

Things have gone a little beyond the clipboard and pen these days, however. The Internet has given us a new path to take to our volunteers. In the past decade or so, numerous matching organizations have popped up on the web, and the result is a good one for nonprofits.

One option is to take the new media approach to the want ad. Many cities have a resource in Craigslist.org. This no-frills web site allows organizations to advertise for volunteers as well as to find those offering their services.

There are several sites out there that allow a nonprofit organization to get "matched" up with potential volunteers. There are various ways in which this happens. Obviously, geography and volunteer interests can play a big role in determining a good fit. The nice thing is that those listed on the sites are already self-screened. After all, they wouldn't have gone to the trouble of signing up if they didn't have a good likelihood of following through on their interest in volunteering.

Why not consider one or more of the following resources:

Utilizing resources like these is just one way that nonprofits can leverage technology to get what they need. While these options are a great starting point, however, don't forget the importance of good training, support, and recognition in order to keep your volunteers on board for years to come.

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