The end of your project need not signal the end of your relationship with your volunteer(s). In fact, if you’ve navigated the process well, you likely now have a new champion or group of champions for your organization.
One of the most rewarding aspects of skills-based volunteering lies with those deepened relationships: forming partnerships with people and institutions that go beyond sectors, titles, and job functions and instead are premised on the people themselves.
Build Upon your Work with Another Pro Bono Project
Most projects have a phase two or require significant implementation support. Consider engaging your skilled volunteer(s) to build upon the project they completed. By conducting accretive projects with the same volunteer(s), you’ll be able to build out your organization’s capacity in a core function, much as you would if you hired another staff member.
For example, Bay Area nonprofit EARN worked with skilled marketing employees from Charles Schwab three years in a row to 1) develop recommendations for a new website, 2) develop a digital marketing strategy once they’d built the new site, and 3) design a PR strategy that leveraged their new online footprint.
If you’re considering continuing your work with a volunteer, we recommend you go through the process of scoping a discrete project again to ensure you have a clear and focused mandate for the next phase of your work together.
“This experience has opened up ideas for us to engage in more skills-based volunteering opportunities that we hadn’t considered before.”
Cultivate Ongoing Relationships with your Volunteers
Devote time and energy during and after your project into developing and maintaining an ongoing relationship with your skilled volunteers. Keep them updated on the implementation of their project and on the results you measure: saved staff time, more clients served, more dollars earned, etc. Include them in any volunteer appreciation activities you do, like receptions or holiday cards. Add them to your newsletter list so they can stay up to date on your organization’s successes.
“Our pro bono work with Schwab has built on itself every year.”
Transform your Volunteers into Ongoing Participants in your Organization’s Success
We often see skills-based volunteers becoming donors, champions, board members, even staff members in the future. Think expansively about how your volunteer can support your organization in the future — perhaps utilizing the same skills they contributed to their project or perhaps utilizing other skills, connections, or resources they have access to.