February 26, 2014
If you're nonprofit is having a hard time finding volunteers, it's not because they aren't out there. Likely due in part to the high unemployment rate over the past five years, hiring managers are putting considerable stock in the volunteer service that they see on a candidate's resume. People realize that volunteering when they are out of work shows they still have initiative and a desire to gain new skills. Companies have realized this as well.
According to Forbes, LinkedIn's Volunteer Marketplace had 339 openings for skilled volunteers shortly following its rollout in January, however, more than 600,000 members state on their profiles that they would be interested in more volunteer work if the right opportunity arose. That level of discrepancy between open positions and candidates might be expected in the job market, but not the volunteer one.
While hardly a barometer for the entire nonprofit industry, the LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace does suggest a disconnect between those looking to volunteer and the opportunities that nonprofits are offering.
Make volunteering more appealing
When intelligent and skilled people are looking to do more volunteer work, organizations should try and place them in positions that will be more engaging. While many volunteer opportunities are somewhat unglamorous or redundant, give those who give their time a sense of importance about what they are doing. Make sure they understand how their small actions have a large impact on others.
In addition, throw in some marketable skills such as providing committed volunteers the opportunity to fill a leadership position or contribute ideas to the organization. This engagement will not only foster future involvement with the nonprofit, but gives the individual something positive to put on their resume.
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