The COVID-19 pandemic may have altered your school’s typical volunteer plan. Volunteers for bake sales, for example, may no longer be needed—at least for the time being—but engaging your community through volunteerism is still a great way to promote and maintain a positive environment. While in-person or group volunteering events may have to be rescheduled, there is a need for virtual volunteers.
Virtual Volunteers for Emotional and Academic Support
Virtual volunteers can help solve school resource challenges, create positivity in both their and the students’ lives, and assist with many initiatives such as mentoring, acting as reading buddies, or tutoring.
Virtual volunteers can build relationships with students and give them one-on-one, personalized attention to ensure they not only succeed in class, but also stay well outside of school hours. For students who view school as an escape from a difficult home life, a virtual volunteer can offer much needed emotional support and connection. As an example for elementary students, along with mentoring, virtual volunteers can play games with their students as part of a virtual recess.
As many schools plan to continue some form of distance education, virtual tutors can also supplement remote learning and give students additional instruction.
Planning and Implementing Your Virtual Volunteer Program
Regardless of the virtual volunteering opportunity, schools need an efficient method to recruit, screen, approve, and track each volunteer. Screening volunteers is especially important since there will be less supervision than when volunteering takes place within the school environment.
- Recruiting Volunteers: You need to provide detailed opportunity descriptions and have a process to notify volunteers about new opportunities. A mass notification can go to all your existing volunteers to alert them that your program is still active and provide information on upcoming opportunities.
- Screening and Approving Volunteers: As the volunteers will have one-on-one contact with students through phone, email, and video conferencing, it is imperative schools screen and approve each volunteer. You must also have a process to coordinate volunteer opportunities, obtain the volunteer’s information, complete background clearances, and maintain the volunteer’s record throughout the year.
- Managing Volunteer Program: You will need to communicate with all volunteers about open opportunities, as well as have an accessible registration form so volunteers can register online. Tracking volunteer hours will also be important to ensure students and schools are receiving an adequate level of support.
Efficiently Screen, Approve, and Track Your Volunteers
Raptor has partnered—and will continue to be a partner—with schools across the nation through the COVID-19 pandemic. Raptor solutions have helped schools deliver meals and resources to students and provides schools a reliable method for screening and tracking visitors for COVID-19 exposure.
We also enable schools to virtually manage their volunteer process. Raptor Volunteer Management is a low cost, robust, and customizable solution that can streamline your volunteer efforts with:
- An online, customizable volunteer application: Prospective volunteers apply in an easy-to-use, customizable online application tool.
- Screening: The system screens prospective volunteers for sex offender status and compiles criminal background results for easy review. The system can automatically approve applicants with no criminal or sex offender history and only prompt your review for prospective volunteers who have potential risks.
- An online volunteer portal: The web portal is designed specifically for district volunteers and active community members to track volunteer hours, sign up for volunteer events, communicate with other volunteers, and communicate with district Volunteer Coordinators. Schools can post volunteer opportunities online and approved volunteers can sign up for these opportunities in the Volunteer Portal.
- Comprehensive reporting: You can quickly access and export volunteer reports to see the total volunteer hours by project or building, letting you confirm that each school is receiving an adequate amount of volunteer support.
The Raptor Volunteer Management system manages nearly 2 million annual volunteer sign-ins, eliminates the use of over 250,000 paper applications per year, and reduces screening time for volunteer applicants from weeks to less than 24 hours.
For more information on how Raptor can help you during COVID-19, see our resource page here.