Volunteers are a critical component of successful nonprofits. But recruiting and managing them takes time and expertise that can be in short supply in the busy life of nonprofit agencies.
United Way of Kaw Valley in Shawnee County, thanks to a grant from the Kansas Volunteer Commission, can help you expand your volunteer capacity with consulting and hands-on help.
This new initiative is called GROW (Growing Resilient Organizations with United Way). GROW uses best practices to help you increase volunteer capacity, manage volunteers effectively, develop volunteer leaders and more effectively navigate the volunteer landscape in our community.
If you have ever struggled to find the right volunteers at the right time, a partnership with GROW will help you find the tools to recruit, manage and report on volunteer opportunities and increase your organization’s capacity to meet its mission and goals.
GROW Component 1: TopekaVolunteers.org Ambassadors
(Recruiting, managing, communicating and reporting)
Let us help you optimize your use of our free volunteer recruitment and management portal, TopekaVolunteers.org. Use this powerful platform powered by Galaxy Digital to manage your volunteer opportunities, communicate quickly with volunteers and report on key volunteer metrics. In addition to asynchronous training resources, we can connect you with a TopekaVolunteers.org Ambassador to help you understand and manage your account.
GROW Component 2: Board Leadership Training
(Developing volunteer leaders)
Have you ever wondered what it takes to join a nonprofit Board of Directors? Maybe you’ve considered board service but just didn’t know where to start. United Way’s Board Leadership Training has the answers and support you are looking for. Our introduction to board leadership breaks it down into understandable pieces, gives you the opportunity to test your skills and brings in local experts to take the mystery out of becoming a board member. And once you’ve finished the course, we won’t leave to out there on your own! You can join our Facebook group and make more connections and ask questions.
GROW Component 3: Volunteer Community Navigators
(Increasing capacity, supporting direct service)
The Community Navigator program trains and embeds volunteers with partner agencies to provide front-line client support. Volunteers focus on the early phase of applying for assistance, helping clients prepare paperwork and gather documentation, and providing them access to community resources that might benefit and/or support their needs. Navigators build the capacity of our non-profit partners by making sure clients are well prepared when they meet with program staff, reducing the need for return visits to address missing documentation. The Community Navigator Program also creates a pathway to engage more volunteers while providing critical support to individuals and families and expanding agency capacity.
As we have seen over the past few years, those most in need don’t always have access to the technology needed to gather necessary documentation and complete the paperwork required to qualify for city- or state-level programs. Similarly, nonprofits are dealing with ongoing staffing shortages and increased caseloads. The Community Navigator Program fills this gap, helping those most in need to have a successful initial meeting when seeking services and freeing up program staff from routine pre-work.
If you have questions about any component of the GROW program, please contact Jess Barraclough.