We explored volunteers in nonprofits during the month of April because they are very important to the nonprofit sector and to the individuals who choose to volunteer.

This year, 63 million volunteers will spend 8 billion hours volunteering. Without these people giving their time, the nonprofits in this country could not do their work effectively (if at all!).

A few key highlights from our month of advice about volunteers:

→ Volunteers enable nonprofits to perform over and above their fiscal and staffing abilities.

→ Train and educate your volunteer Board members, so they are fully cognizant of their responsibilities and fully knowledgeable about the work of your organization.

→ Evaluating volunteers is important because all parties should know their work is making a difference.

→ Ask! Sometimes that’s all it takes to get a great volunteer.

Start with a solid Volunteer Plan, fully integrated with other organizational plans.

Track and value the time your volunteers work for your nonprofit.

Have a process to screen, evaluate and, if necessary, release volunteers.

→ Training is vital to effective use of volunteers.

→ Expectations are important. Make sure your volunteers know exactly what you expect of them, and that you know exactly what they expect of you.

→ Recognize your volunteers for the work they do! Make it public, too.