VolunteerMatch’s Tess Srebro observes what’s top of mind for us

Serving Volunteer Managers - Twenty HatsSometimes, the best way to gain perspective on our work is to speak with someone NEAR the field rather than IN the field.

Tess Srebro counts as one of those nearby people. She is the Marketing Manager at VolunteerMatch. Tess represents the public voice of the organization in some important ways: editing not one but two blogs, managing the organization’s content calendar, social media, email campaigns, and probably a bunch of other responsibilities that did not make it to this list.

I got curious about Tess’s perspective on volunteer management through her role as editor of the Engaging Volunteers blog, which features content relevant to just about every volunteer engagement pro out there.  And as the promoter of content, she sees of what’s top of mind for most of us right now.

So what’s the number one most clicked-on, shared, and commented-on type of blog post?  Here are three possibilities:

  1. Retention
  2. Recognition
  3. Recruitment

If you picked b, you are right on the money.  According to Tess, any post about volunteer appreciation receives the most activity.  As the people-centered heart of most organizations, we are always on the lookout for ways to recognize our volunteers.

Tess realizes that there is no one appreciation tactic that works for all volunteers — or for all organizations.  As a result, she showcases a variety of ideas and approaches that volunteer mangers can include to create an overall culture of belonging.

Tess Headshot

Tess Srebro

“At VolunteerMatch, we see [volunteer appreciation] as an ongoing process of making people feel valued through words and actions, and most importantly showing them the impact they have,” observes Tess.

The Other Side of the Coin

The flip side to Tess’s position is the social media and technology piece, which she stresses as key for any nonprofit that wants to keep pace with its volunteers.  There may even be times when outdated technology becomes a barrier to engagement.

Tess recalls her own volunteer experience with a nonprofit that asked volunteers to sign up for shifts through a shared spreadsheet.  While this was not the reason Tess ultimately stopped volunteering with the organization, it did contribute to her overall impression that volunteer engagement was not a top priority for them. The situation might have been easily remedied by investing in scheduling software — another example of an advocacy opportunity when it comes to investing in the necessary tools.

One solution for technology resources may come from corporate partnerships. As the person in charge of the Volunteering is CSR blog and the VolunteerMatch Solutions page, Tess sees opportunities for nonprofits get their needs met by collaborating with socially responsible businesses — as long as there is a fit between the corporate mission and the nonprofit’s needs.

“Nonprofits are being challenged to not simply ‘take what they can get’ but to share their needs, ask for what they need, lay out expectations from both sides, and not be afraid to say ‘no’ to offers that aren’t a good fit.”

Sounds like working near this profession is not so different from working in it after all.

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@VolunteerMatch’s Tess Srebro knows what’s top of mind for volunteer engagement pros, https://twentyhats.com/?p=2272