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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Volunteer Scheduling: 8 Common Challenges (+ Solutions to Manage Volunteers More Efficiently)

Volunteer scheduling is integral to driving volunteer event success at all stages for nonprofit organizations. With the help of this process, organizations can determine goals, set aside funds, recruit volunteers, and ensure that they have all necessities in place for each event. However, as with everything, a few challenges present themselves during the scheduling process. 

In such instances, it becomes necessary for nonprofits to overcome at the earliest to guarantee success. Hence, here’s a look at some common challenges with their solutions that will help nonprofits navigate their volunteer scheduling process. 

8 Common Volunteer Scheduling Challenges and How to Overcome Them

  1. Volunteer shortage: One of the most prominent challenges organizations can face with volunteer scheduling is the need for more volunteers. There may need to be more people available to join the event, which may lead to fewer hands on deck when the time finally arrives. 

Solution: To overcome this challenge, nonprofits must work on recruiting volunteers well in advance before the program. They can send out information about their events through online or offline media and approach recruitment or volunteer forums to get more information about potential volunteers. It will help connect with people and onboard volunteers efficiently. 

  1. Lack of program goals: A volunteer program will only be successful with a proper definition of what the event wants to achieve. During the volunteer scheduling process, nonprofits must set targets to avoid difficulty identifying the most appropriate activities and tasks required to meet them. 

Solution: When planning a volunteer event, the first thing necessary is setting realistic goals to determine further program requirements. These could be fundraising, awareness activities, resource collection, neighborhood visits, etc. Have these in place before starting with other volunteer scheduling tasks.

  1. More training: Another challenge organizations may face is the need for more training for each volunteer. While they may already possess the skill set the nonprofit is looking for, they may need to be acquainted with the organization’s needs and operations. 

Solution: When onboarded, try to provide volunteers with different training activities that will allow them to become efficient with the program’s needs. Providing training activities will ensure that the organization can reach its volunteer event goals. Use training guides, team activities, and other such channels that will enhance their skill set and make them efficient for the tasks they need to carry out. 

  1. Absent communication: Unclear communication between the organization and volunteers can lead to reduced efficiency of performance and lower program success. With proper communication, it will be easier for volunteers to know about their exact duties, or it will be easier for organizations to address any grievances. 

Solution: When volunteers are onboarded, ensure that you have channels to establish clear communication. Use volunteer scheduling applications, management tools, and more to create reminders, notices, group chats, track VTO, and other ways to ensure a continuous flow of information between the volunteers and the organization.

  1. Unclear definition of activities: Having no predetermined tasks can make volunteers less efficient with their performance. This, in turn, can reduce the overall success of volunteer events.  

Solution: When planning a volunteer program and laying out its targets, use them as a guideline to set aside tasks to help reach these goals. It could be a single task or multiple activities that volunteers will have to perform. 

Organizations can determine the best way to proceed based on requirements and list all activities volunteers must perform. It will make the job easier, leading to the higher efficiency of the volunteer program.

  1. Definition of fixed hours: Lack of predetermined working hours can be challenging for volunteers. They set aside their time and need to know how long they have to perform their duties with the organization for any volunteer event. 

Solution: When planning a program, determine the working hours, time slots, and other hourly requirements for each event. It will allow volunteers to feel more at ease when working, and they will also be able to provide higher efficiency within their suited hours.

  1. Making volunteer facilities available: Volunteers need access to facilities like rest areas, break rooms, first-aid requirements, etc., or else it can be challenging to work successfully and achieve any event goals. 

Solution: When planning an event, make sure to have all essential facilities available or make provisions to have them ready at the time of a volunteer event. It makes it convenient for volunteers to go about busy routines and keeps their efficiency high. 

  1. Managing sponsors: It is challenging to source sponsors for volunteer events and keep in contact with them. You want them to partner up with the organization to boost the image of the volunteer event. 

Solution: Have an organizing committee that can keep in contact with existing sponsors or get in touch with new ones. You can use scheduling apps to keep track of contact details, communication, and other essentials to ensure all management takes place conveniently. 


Volunteer events help nonprofits establish themselves and build a better reputation with the public. Organizations can achieve their goals on time by ensuring that the appropriate measures get carried out to overcome all possible challenges. Hence, it becomes necessary to take up efficient volunteer scheduling to ensure every program’s high success.

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