Service Sector Snapshot: News and Tips for Nonprofits (March 2015)
Posted Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by Verified Volunteers Staff
It’s been a busy March. As we round the corner on Q1, it’s a great time to reflect and refocus on our goals and initiatives for the second quarter. In this month’s edition, we’ll share some tips on how to effectively use volunteer agreements as part of your volunteer program and tackle the nonprofit employee turnover issue. Then we’ll jump into some financial tips to implement within your organization.
Tips and Tools for Nonprofit Managers
Volunteering Agreements – Should You Use Them?
The jury is still out on whether agreements or contracts should be used with volunteers. On the one hand, an agreement helps an organization outline expectations and boundaries. On the other hand, a formal document may make the volunteer uncomfortable and resistant to coming onboard.
Legal charity expert Jane Klauber believes that well thought-out agreements can be quite effective. She notes that a good volunteer agreement:
- Makes it clear that the document is not intended to be legally binding.
- Includes information about:
- Data security
- Does not set any kind of formal vacation/resignation policy.
- Does not need not be a formally signed document. It can simply be a piece of onboarding material that sets out clear expectations.
Is your organization using volunteer agreements? If so, please tell us about your experience and recommendations!
How Can you Reduce Employee Turnover at Your Organization?
Turnover is unavoidable at every organization, whether public, private, or nonprofit. The unfortunate truth is that for nonprofit organizations, the impact of losing a great employee can be much more severe than with other sectors.
Why is employee turnover so crippling for nonprofits? Well, it might all come down to training. Check out this interesting viewpoint on the vicious training circle that often exists in nonprofit organizations: an employee is hired based on their past experience and the organization has little to no formal training for them; that individual becomes overwhelmed and leaves with little notice, meaning they are not around long enough to train their replacement; a new person is onboarded without being trained and the cycle starts again. This creates massive inefficiencies for the organization.
So, what to do? Your organization is likely are strapped when it comes to resources. Still, in order to alleviate future strain, make it a point to establish a training process that permits the ongoing development of all employees. You’ll create a better work atmosphere and will likely reduce turnover. And should an integral individual leave the organization, the strategy for training their replacement is already in place, so impact on the organization is minimized.
Struggling with Managing Your Nonprofit Finances?
Struggling with financial stability is an issue that affects the majority of nonprofit organizations.
Neela Pal, consultant with Fiscal Management Associates, shares her top financial tips for nonprofit organizations. Check out the full article for details, but here’s a quick preview:
- Involve your financial team in more than just policing compliance.
- Know what financial information to share – find that balance between sharing too much financial information and too little.
- Understand your costs – have your finger on the pulse of the financial health of the organization.
- Understand your funding – review funding sources and determine if commitments mesh with your organization’s goals.
- Prepare for a rainy day – ensure your organization has a back-up fund.
Verified Volunteers is Focused on the Sports Sector
We are excited to be building momentum in the youth sports sector. Several organizations are coming onboard with Verified Volunteers to improve their screening programs and ensure the safety of their young participants. We have lots of basketball organizations and hockey chapters in the community – and USA Taekwondo uses Verified Volunteers all across the country for each and every one of its participants.
Are you a sporting organization? Contact us for more details about how we can work with you.
News in the Service Sector
- Five Child Sex Abuse Counts Against Shelter Volunteer
- Loophole Doesn’t Require Certain Day Care Volunteers to Undergo Background Checks
- Millennials: They Aren’t as Lazy and Selfish as You Might Think
- Nonprofit Regulation: Do We Need It?
- Keep Episodic Volunteers Coming Back: 3 Steps
Making a Difference
Each month, we keep our eyes peeled to see what kind of actions individuals and organizations across the country are taking to make a difference. This month, we came across an organization that organizes a more unique spring break for college students that want to give back.
Recognizing the opportunity to connect eager students with communities in need, CEO Stephen McMahon created Break a Difference. The Washington, D.C. based nonprofit organized 8 different trips throughout March for students wanting to give back during their week off from school. The program supports a variety of initiatives across the US, including food banks, afterschool programs, hurricane victim relief programs, low-income construction projects and more.
Applications are open all year for next year’s trips – if you know someone looking to get involved, check out their blog.