Engaging Nonprofit and Government Volunteers in the COVID-19 Response

Our thoughts are with all our partners and the whole community in this challenging time. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center (MCVC) website has shifted its emphasis on COVID-19 response and remains as an active resource for local organizations to recruit volunteers and solicit donations. We are working with county departments, the Office of Emergency Management, and  other community organizations responding to needs. 

We are adapting our operations in this local and national crisis to support your COVID-19 volunteer and donation needs.

Best Practices for Managing Your Account During COVID-19 Pandemic

There is a huge outpouring of goodwill from individuals and volunteers who want to be involved in helping those most impacted by this current situation. They are eager to support your efforts. Post current requests for volunteers, take down opportunities that have to be on hold because of COVID and track hours for any volunteers responding to COVID! 

  • Track hours of volunteers on our website. Any volunteer hours in response to COVID-19 in particular should be added to help the county with FEMA reporting.  
  • Update or post new needs under “opportunities.” If your opportunities are dealing with response to COVID-19 / Coronavirus, include “Emergency Response” in the “Interests & Abilities” field.
  • Use our website to request donations. If you are requesting donations of money or other resources in response to the Coronavirus, add those requests as “opportunities” and include "Donate for COVID-19 Response" in the "Interests & Abilities" field. 
  • Promote your virtual volunteer opportunities. You can also identify "Virtual" volunteer opportunities now by selecting the new check box for "Virtual" in new or existing opportunities. 
  • Stay in touch with your existing corps of volunteers. If you want to reach all volunteers that have responded to you in the past on our website you can find them when you login by clicking on the "STATS" tab and setting the dates to span the whole time you've been registered.
  • If you have opportunities on our website that should not be active right now, change the “duration” to “runs until” and pick a date in the past so they will expire and no longer show to the public. ​You can always make them active again when you are recruiting again in the future. 
  • Add safety protocols for any essential On-Location opportunities: Be sure any postings for the limited essential opportunities that are not virtual include your protocols for volunteer safety iin the description, such as physical distancing, providing gloves, or making hand sanitizer available.
  • Read our HOTLINK enewsletter each week for up-to-date volunteer management and other important resources for nonprofits and government agencies during COVID-19.

Emergency Funds & Other Resources for Nonprofits 

Find up to date information on funding applications and more on Nonprofit Montgomery's COVID-19 page

How Essential Organizations Can Serve Under the Executive Order

Confused about how Gov. Hogan's  March 30 stay-at-home order applies to your agency's volunteers? According state guidance, the order does not change which organizations are deemed essential or nonessential. Nonprofits that  serve critical needs (such as food and healthcare) should be able to continue to operate if necessary, and their volunteers should continue to follow the  guidance for nonclinical volunteers developed by the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Health and Human Services. Further, the stay-at-home order specifically notes that nonprofit organizations and government agencies that provide essential services to low-income persons are not required to close, and that staff and volunteers traveling to, from, or in connection with their duties at such organizations may continue to do so.  For most organizations and volunteers, however, the best way to help our entire community at this time is to stay home, supporting operations remotely.Text for content box

Community Volunteers / Unaffiliated Volunteers

There is a huge outpouring of good will from individuals and volunteers who want to be involved in helping those most impacted by this current situation.

If you are working with community groups developing their own neighborhood networks to respond, please share this document with them:  Guidance For Non-Clinical Volunteers developed by Montgomery County's Office of Emergency Management and Health Department.

We have a page on our website that focuses volunteers on how they can respond to COVID-19

Questions? Need Help? 

If you want help with entering your organization and volunteer opportunities on our website or have other questions email  volunteer@montgomerycountymd.gov or molly.callaway@montgomerycountymd.gov.  

You can also call and leave a message at 240-777-2600. 
See our  FAQs for Agencies page with answers to the most-asked questions about Volunteer Center website.

Links to Information on COVID-19 - Coronavirus 

Montgomery County Government
Maryland Department of Health
Gilchrist Center

Resourcees for Managing Volunteers During COVID-19

Here are newly added resources about engaging your volunteers and shifting your volunteer and engagement strategy:
  • What might your donors and volunteers be going through right now? This resource by Aspen Leadership Group makes suggestions on how best to reach your donors and volunteers.
  • The Opportunity Agenda has a messaging framework for nonprofits when discussing COVID-19 that considers inclusion and equity.
  • What are organizations doing to manage volunteers under COVID-19? This article explains what volunteers need and allows several organizations to weigh in.
  • Clear, calm, and transparent messaging is critical for volunteers and donors during any crisis. Here's an example from the President and CEO of Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing and one of a series of weekly updates from the Executive Director of Jubilee Association of Maryland. Consider a short video of thanks -- like this one from the CEO of the Children's Inn -- to reach your volunteers and donors.
  • Capacity Common helps you define your volunteer project to meet your strategic priorities and create and tell more impactful stories.
  • Washington Nonprofits includes a sample waiver of liability for providing volunteer services.
  • Some organizations are choosing to have virtual galas so that they don't give up the revenue from these important fundraising events. Here are tips for a successful virtual gala experience.