National Volunteer Week, Volunteer Newsletters, and Volunteer Coordinator Capacity | Track It Forward

National Volunteer Week, Volunteer Newsletters, and Volunteer Coordinator Capacity

Written by Jordan Galerkin

Banner with icons: Calendar, Newsletter, and People

Recap for January 22nd - February 4th

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Facebook community these past couple weeks! 

Planning for National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week in the United States begins on April 17 this year, and our community is looking to get a head start! Many organizations may plan to celebrate virtually again this year, and our volunteer coordinator group has some great ideas on how to do that!

Facebook Post stating: How are you going to celebrate National Volunteer Week this year? My organization feels it's too risky to gather in person. I'm looking for ideas to celebrate in small groups or online. Any ideas would be helpful! TIA.

Comments from the group

  • "We do a social media blast with quotes/pics from staff, games, polls, etc. We send a summary pdf (like a newsletter) at the end of the week for those without email"

  • "Last year we did a window of time with a drive up thank you gift. It was a logo mug and a couple of flavored tea bags"

  • "I send a handwritten card to every single volunteer who worked more than 16 hours with us. The Board calls the volunteers with the highest hours, each board member taking on three. And we're planning an event on parallel tracks, so we can make the call about being in person or virtual as close as a week before the event"

Check out all of the Facebook comments here!

Starting a Volunteer Newsletter

Volunteer newsletters can be a great way to keep in touch with your volunteers and let them know about upcoming shifts and events. Our volunteer coordinator community has shared some of their tips for creating a volunteer newsletter, and Track it Forward has an article on Volunteer Newsletter Examples and Ideas!

Facebook post stating: Hello friends!
Does anyone do Volunteer Newsletters? If so, how often, what do you use, and can you screenshot a pic for inspiration?

Comments and resources

  • "I’ve done weekly and monthly depending on the org and what’s happening week to week! I call it the Friday Flash! My vols love the communication"

  • "Monthly newsletter: acknowledging birthdays, volunteer anniversary, upcoming fundraisers, list any available training opportunities, impact statement either by the numbers or quotes from grateful clients, and an educational paragraph-topics range from a reminder of our policies to safety protocols or driving tips. We keep it short & simple"

  • "I do a Constant Contact email monthly with volunteer opportunities for the month and a few pictures. I send a printed email about four times per year that is usually two pages (front and back)"

  • Article: Volunteer Newsletter Examples and Ideas

Add your own thoughts here!

Volunteer Coordinator Capacity

One of our group members brought up a great question: What is the capacity of volunteers per volunteer coordinator, and how do you decide when more volunteer coordinators are needed? This can be difficult, because we often find that nonprofit organizations have limited funds and resources and therefore do not always have the ability to expand capacity for volunteer management. However, our community of coordinators were able to offer some ideas and tips on the volunteer to coordinator ratio.

Facebook post stating: 
Has anyone seen the capacity of volunteers for the year for one volunteer coordinator? And when there needs to be a team of volunteer coordinators

Comments and resources

  • "So many factors. But...don't forget to build a volunteer office team. So many tasks can be peeled off and delegated. It's so easy to build support for other departments and forget to build your own support team"

  • "We have 200 regular volunteers/month at about 1,500 hours/month. We have a budget for a FT volunteer coordinator and 2 PT volunteer office assistants. I made the case for the PT staff by showing how additional paid staff would enable us to leverage more volunteers to enhance/expand/extend our reach"

  • "Association of Zoos and Aquariums' volunteer managers best practice group once said a recommended ratio was 100 volunteers to 1 FTE…I love the suggestion I've seen to try and include something related to volunteer engagement as a bullet point responsibility in every staff member's job description...That elevates our profession because it highlights the importance and value of volunteers to the org while emphasizing the importance of staff support"

Read more comments here!