VolunteerMatters | Volunteerism and Risk Management
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Volunteerism and Risk Management

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17 Oct Volunteerism and Risk Management


We here at VolunteerMatters have been engaged by hundreds of non-profit and for-profit organizations all over the world.  Every engagement includes a risk assessment for their volunteer programs.  In almost every single case there are breakdowns in risk management policy, implementation and enforcement.

What we find is that in most cases, there are excellent policies that have been well defined.  They document the different types of volunteers and for each type, identify on-boarding requirements – what forms to fill out, which documents to sign, orientations, training, references checks, criminal background checks, certifications, etc.  Additionally, they do a good job of identifying when some of those might need to be repeated.  For example, THIS type of volunteer has to repeat a background check annually, or THAT type of volunteer has to be re-trained every semester.  We are typically pleasantly surprised with the policy definition side of things.

Where we typically identify most gaps is in the implementation and enforcement of those policies.  In fact, while doing our risk assessment interviews they often turn into quasi-confessionals.

“We know it’s not great because we’re still doing this on paper” or “That is tracked in a separate Excel spreadsheet for each department.” or “It’s up to each program to determine how they are tracking this, so I’d have to call them.”  I’ve spoken with many organizations that can do a great job of telling me where they ARE compliant but have little insight as to when they are not.  I had one organization tell us, very proudly that they background checked 4,000 volunteers the year prior.  However, they had a harder time telling us how many of their volunteers weren’t background checked – or out of those that weren’t, how many should have been.  There tends to be a lot of reliance on volunteer program coordinators to assure that policy is being followed – which doesn’t really help the risk managers sleep any better at night.

Another quick example…  Recently, we were informed that a youth sports director had expressed frustration with volunteer registration.  After further investigation, what we learned he was frustrated because he was unable to circumvent their risk management policies.  He confessed that he felt it was unnecessary and inconvenient to go through the application, background check process, and training with some of his coaches.  We also learned that he had been doing this for years.  Within a few minutes we were able to clearly convey the reason for the policy and why it needed to be followed equally for all volunteers of this type.  He quickly saw the light and was on-board.

You can partner with VolunteerMatters to centralize, automate, and systematically enforce your risk management policies across your entire organization. It’s a simple fix to a very serious safety problem.

If we recognize that the implementation and enforcement of risk management policies is a serious concern AND we know that there is an excellent solution to that problem, why wouldn’t we move forward with that solution right now?

We find there are usually two reasons that prevent us from moving forward today – budget and time.  Let’s start with the ‘B word’ – Budget.  We offer a money back guarantee.  If after using the service, you haven’t saved money on your volunteer on-boarding and compliance enforcement you can request a refund of your entire subscription fee.  That’s how confident we are.  We know that most volunteer organizations spend between 3 to 5 hours on-boarding volunteers.  If you have a volunteer base of 1,000 volunteers, this means you are already spending a minimum of $80,000/yr now.  With VolunteerMatters, you will recognize immediate savings from operational efficiencies alone.  Aside from the core value our service offers under risk management, there are other benefits that will actually generate revenue.  If you’re a member organization or have customers you will see an increase in member/customer adoption and retention.  When fundraising, you will also see an increase in individual donations as well as corporate participation and financial support.

Now that we know that budget is no longer a concern, let’s talk about TIME.  First and foremost, let me emphasize… we will do the heavy lifting for you. We provide the experience and necessary resources. That’s why you partner with us. We provide experience, tools, and resources.  You give us the policies and procedures you’ve already developed and we do the rest. We will handle all of the consulting, project management, training, coaching and tools to make this the easiest project you’ll take on.

So, now that budget and time are no longer obstacles, what are our next steps?

If you haven’t had one already, let’s schedule a personal demonstration ASAP. When you are 100% convinced let’s invite the rest of the decision-making team into the process.  Allow us to present to your leadership – illustrating the total return on investment that an investment in volunteerism will bring your organization.  Whenever we have had the opportunity to present to the leadership team, the value of the investment becomes immediately clear and we tend to move forward quite rapidly.

To reach out for a demonstration or to schedule some time with your leadership team please call (203-987-3339 x808) or email us now sales@volunteermatters.com.