How to Manage Human Capital: Tips and Resources for Nonprofits

Bari Samad
See all of Bari Samad's blog posts

Continuing our series on how nonprofit organizations can tap into the human capital potential, I thought it might be helpful to pull together some resources that will help nonprofits avoid common pitfalls and follow best practices when working with volunteers.

Whether you are a nonprofit just starting to use human capital or have already established internal structures to manage your volunteers, engaging them in meaningful and productive ways can be both rewarding and challenging. 

Volunteers can bring a wide range of skills and experiences to build your capacity and boost your mission-driven work.  We hope these resources will help make the work of managing volunteers a little easier and keep your volunteers happy to boot!

To get you started, we have a lot of tips and resources to share from members of the TechSoup and Net2 community.

How and where to get volunteers:

  • On the Net2 Blog - We asked the Net2 community to share best practices for finding passionate volunteers and how nonprofits can use the Internet to make finding volunteers more efficient and effective. We got a lot more. Check out this amazing list of Net2 community contributed tools, tactics, and best practices. 

Webinars - Resources to help manage and retain volunteers:

The HandsOn Network

An arm of the Points of Light Institute, The HandsOn Network is the largest volunteer network in the nation and includes more than 250 HandsOn Action Centers in 16 countries and a powerful network of more than 70,000 corporate, faith, and nonprofit organizations. 

We did a quick search in their Tools and Resources Library and found some great resources:

  • Starting A Volunteering Program in an Organization (PDF) - This document reviews some important steps in the creation of a volunteer program.
  • Take Root: Volunteer Management Guide (PDF) -  A comprehensive guide for that includes volunteer management, recruitment, retention, recognition strategies and much more.
  • Volunteers as Leaders (PDF) - A step-by-step guide for non-profits to develop volunteer leaders. From developing a volunteer leader framework to recruiting, equipping and supporting leaders.
  • eVOLve: technical assistance for mobilizing volunteers - Sign up for this monthly electronic technical assistance brief, where you will find tips and tools to help you inspire, equip, and mobilize volunteers in your community. Check out the eVOLve archives.
  • Economic Impact Of Volunteers Calculator - Ever try putting a value on the time volunteers give to an organization? This tool can help you. It estimates the appropriate wage rate for volunteer time based on what the person does, the value of specific tasks according to market conditions as reported by the US Department of Labor.

Here are the full search results of HandsOn resources for non-profits.

Risk Management and Legal Issues

As nonprofits consider using volunteers they are often concerned about risk management and legal issues. I am no legal expert, but the Nonprofit Risk Management Center says a little prevention can go a long way. 

Here is a select list of useful (free) articles:

Visit the center’s Volunteer Risk Management page or a full list of their paid resources and services.

We realize there are lot of resources on volunteer management out there. It’s almost overwhelming! We have to tried to round up the ones we thought would be most useful for nonprofits as they consider how to best manage human capital. 

If we missed anything or you’d like to share something else with the Net2 community, we encourage you to leave us a comment.