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(For Organizations) Tips for Collaborating with your Volunteer
(For Organizations) Tips for Collaborating with your Volunteer

How to maintain communication & collaborate effectively when you're miles apart.

Lauren avatar
Written by Lauren
Updated over a week ago

Working with a virtual Volunteer may be new to you, or you might be a seasoned pro! Either way, read below for a few tips to help you collaborate effectively and build a relationship with your Catchafire Volunteer.

Getting Started

Schedule a kick-off call and standing check-ins to discuss the status of your project.

As soon as you match on a project, schedule a kick-off call with your Volunteer to establish a project timeline and get to know one another. Once you've begun your work together, place a standing meeting on both of your calendars to ensure the project keeps moving forward. 

💡Tip : Always send a meeting agenda at least 24 hours in advance - it will help you stay on track and use your meeting time most effectively!

Utilize video conferencing and screen sharing to build rapport. 

Face-to-face communication can help you bond with your Volunteer, establish trust, and communicate more clearly. Many video conferencing tools also allow you to share your screen, which can help you present information or give feedback on a visual deliverable.

Suggested free software: Google Hangouts, Zoom,

Use shared folders and documents to organize information and give feedback.

Emailing documents back and forth can get messy, fast. Instead, use shared folders that allow you to organize information and track changes on any written documents. To start, send your Volunteer a folder with background information they'll need to begin work on your project.

Suggested free software: Google Drive, Dropbox, Notion

Give Feedback

Honest feedback on both sides is crucial, and has the added bonus of providing great professional development for all. For Organizations, giving feedback is a great way to let Volunteers know that they’re on the right track. Your Volunteer wants you to use the work they’ve spent so much time on. Giving them actionable feedback not only helps you, but gets them closer to this goal!

Always be constructive

Before you point out something you don't like in your Volunteer's work, think about what you don't like, why you don't like it, and how you might want them to change it. This will help you communicate specific, objective feedback that doesn't feel personal. Here's an example:

  • "I noticed the formatting in this document is inconsistent, and I want to make sure we appear professional to prospective funders when we're sharing it with them. Would you be able to standardize the formatting with common margins, fonts, and sizes?"

Don't forget to point out the positive

If you're especially impressed by something your Volunteer creates or says - let them know! This will boost your Volunteer's confidence, help build your relationship with them, and make it easier to deliver any constructive feedback. Try to be as specific as possible in your positive feedback as well.

Express your gratitude

Don't forget that your Volunteer is donating their time to you, 100% pro-bono - so always remember to thank them for their time. This can be as simple as adding a line at the bottom of every email letting them know you appreciate their work!

The end of a project doesn't have to be the end of a relationship.

When they work on your project, Volunteers become invested in your mission. They can even turn into a long-term advisor or partner — we wrote a whole piece about a few recent matches that have had profound impact on the nonprofit.

Successfully managing skills-based volunteer experiences doesn’t have to be left up to chance. With these tips, managing skills-based Volunteers can be a rewarding experience, turning short-term projects into long-lasting relationships.

As always, feel free to reach out to us using the blue chat bubble on the bottom-right of your screen or email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.

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