Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers for your Nonprofit: How One Resourcefullness Award Winner Found Harmony

August 20, 2020

One of the many challenges of running a nonprofit can be making sure your organization has enough volunteers. Volunteer retention and recruitment are essential in maintaining daily operations, which in turn is essential for the growth and success of any nonprofit. In order to create a strategy for finding (and keeping) a steady inflow of volunteers, let’s look at how one of our Resourcefullness award winners, Easterseals Colorado, managed to find the perfect balance of give-and-take for their staff.

Easterseals Colorado works with individuals, families, and the community with the goal of reducing the impact of disability and health challenges. They aim to enhance disabled individual's quality of life and create opportunities so that they may achieve greater independence through wellness, employment, respite and recreation. With these goals in mind, Easterseals Colorado created Discovery Club.

Discovery Club is a recreational opportunity for children living with disabilities. The club is held on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers a time where these children can relax and have fun, all while learning social and other important life skills.

Colorado Resourcefullness Award 2019 Recipient – Easterseals Colorado Discovery Club

Discovery Club: A Harmonious Partnership
Discovery Club operates with a unique volunteer staffing model that generates a significant cost-savings for Easterseals Colorado. A paid Easterseals Colorado Registered Nurse conducts the program and is always on-site. Discovery Club then partners with 11 nursing schools and one physical therapy school to provide student volunteers to staff the program so that the adult to child ratio is at least 1:1. Student volunteers receive training in class and on-site prior to the arrival of participants. Together with their school’s nursing supervisors, student volunteers review the history and meet with the parents of the child they will be paired with.

For this hands-on learning experience, students earn clinical pediatric hours, required for graduation. The real-world experience also gives the nursing students the training and exposure needed to improve their success in their future healthcare careers.

Partnerships and collaborations are trending among nonprofit organizations looking to strategize the recruitment and retention of their volunteers. These types of mutually beneficial relationships keep the organizations fully staffed and running efficiently. Additionally, when combining forces with a collaborative organization, you are better reinforcing both partners to be able to withstand financial disruptions that may be brought on by events like the COVID-19 pandemic.

What organizations can you partner with or what valuable hands-on experience can you offer potential volunteers?

By taking a look at the resources you have and educating your team on leveraging partnerships, you can level up the way your nonprofit is run. It could be the difference between simply surviving or still thriving in today’s unpredictable economy.