A happy volunteer workforce is critical to charities. It’s no easy task to find dedicated volunteers in the first place. People are busy and there are a lot of nonprofit organisations competing for their time.
Once you’ve found a volunteer that’s willing to dedicate their time and talent to your nonprofit, it’s worth thinking about how to maintain that relationship and support them in a way that that makes them want to help you.
1. Make it fun
Very simple, obvious even, but even supporters who are passionate about your cause want to enjoy what they do. If people have fun getting involved with your charity they are more likely to come back, so make your events fun and create a group that enjoys spending time with each other. .
Hosting social events to reward your volunteers can help foster a team spirit and let people get to know each other.
2. Meaningful roles
Everyone at an organisation wants to feel their contribution is valued whether they are paid or not. There will always be menial tasks at each charity whether it’s stuffing envelopes or sorting clothes, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that these tedious but essential tasks should always fall to volunteers.
Understanding the skills and interests of your volunteers and placing them in roles where they are valuable and feel valued will benefit you organization and motivate your volunteers.
Let them know that their contributions to goals of the charity are seen and appreciated and show them how it has made a difference. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. We all want to know when they are doing something right. It doesn’t need grand gestures, but a simple thank you goes a long way and is much more likely to make them want to return. Sometimes going a little further and being inventive can really make volunteers feel special. (link to thank you post)
4. Show volunteers what they have achieved
Your volunteers are likely working with your nonprofit because they believe in your mission and want to make a difference. You need to make sure they’re well aware of the impact their hard work is having in the world.
When it comes to sharing the impact your volunteers are having, you need to think of yourself as a storyteller. It’s your job to weave a compelling narrative that clearly demonstrates the way your volunteers are improving the world.
Photos and videos can help your volunteers see the results of their work, even if it’s occurring on the other side of the world.
5. Let Them Know They’re Part of Something Big
If your cause has a lot of support, share this information with people you want to motivate to join you. There’s power in numbers and when movements gain strength many people want to join in so they too can be part of something big. They’ll also be more likely to feel confident that the movement will be successful, which will result in even more excitement.
6. Ask Regular Volunteers to Guest Blog
By discussing the experience of working with your nonprofit within their social circles, happy volunteers can help raise awareness for your organization and bring along friends and family to give their time in the future. People are much more receptive to messages coming from someone they value and trust. Someone that starts as a volunteer may quickly become an advocate for your nonprofit.
If your nonprofit has a blog, ask a volunteer to write a post and share their experiences and tell people why they decided to support your cause.
Not only will your volunteer be flattered by your request, they’ll probably also promote the post once it’s up, leading to a boost in website traffic and hopefully increased interest from their peers. Such a post can also help sway potential volunteers that see such content on your site.
7. Ask them to come back soon
Once you have people excited, be sure not to drop them and move on to what’s next. Let contributors know how much you value them and what a difference they made in your movement’s success and let them know why you need them to keep helping.