How to Retain Volunteers?
The relationship that a nonprofit has with its volunteers should be at the top of the importance scale for the sustainability of the organization.
- What are you doing to keep volunteers motivated, fulfilled, and engaged?
- How is your organization retaining volunteers?
Avoid these pitfalls…
- Volunteers’ skills and expectations do not match the job.
- Volunteers not feeling appreciated.
- Volunteers feeling disconnected from the mission.
- Volunteers feeling isolated from the other members.
- Volunteer’s whose whole experience is chaotic.
6 TIPS TO RETAIN YOUR VOLUNTEERS
Tip #1: Be Realistic About Your Volunteer Expectation’s and Set Actionable Goals For Them
- Do volunteers understand the mission and values of your nonprofit organization?
- Do volunteers understand the goals and objectives of their chosen opportunity?
- Are the goals provided to the volunteer SMART? (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound)
- Are the goals provided to the volunteer in their comfort zone?
- Do volunteers understand which tasks are a priority?
Tip #2: Keep Volunteer Retention In Mind From The Start
Get to know your new volunteers and their motivation for getting involved. Here are some questions you can ask:
- How did you hear about us?
- What motivated you to get involved? What type of projects are you interested in?
- What resources do you need from us?
- Introduce your volunteers to other volunteers or staff that share their interests
- Host volunteer networking events
- Do you have any special or technical skills?
- Ask volunteers to provide their feedback about each role they fill
- Listen to what your volunteers are saying at all times
- Be aware of your volunteer’s comfort zone and don’t pressure them into crossing it
- Understand that relationships are the most important component of your nonprofit
Tip #3: Respect your Volunteer’s Values and Time
Here are a few factors to consider to make the most out of your volunteer’s time:
- Understand your volunteers time boundaries and other commitments
- Be available and responsive to all of your volunteer’s requests and needs
- Make the process of volunteering easy for people (registering should be quick)
- Provide volunteers with SMART goals and process to avoid confusion and wasted time
- Always provide volunteers with accurate opportunity details and directions
Tip #4: Recognize Your Volunteers and Their Achievements Towards Your Nonprofits Mission
- Set up a rewards system for volunteers that offers prizes based on performance
- Host volunteer recognition events that reward your top performers
- Provide your volunteers with food when they work (made by the same volunteers or donated)
- Feature your volunteer stories on your blog and digital channels
- Provide your volunteers with a verbal thank you (they go a long way)
- Send your volunteers thank you notes after the completion of an opportunity
- Keep your volunteers up to date with the overall success of your nonprofit.
Tip #5: Be Social and Get Your Volunteers Involved
- Social media is a great tool for nonprofits to utilize to increase engagement
- Promote your current volunteer achievements and organizational goals
- Focus your nonprofit social content around storytelling
- Entice others to serve with strong calls to action
- Thank your volunteers for helping reach milestones and goals
- Ask your volunteers to share your content
Tip #6: Invest Time and Create Strategy for Your Volunteer Training Program
The success and engagement of your volunteers start with your organization being able to provide adequate training. Training is key for the development, motivation, and retention of your organization’s volunteers.
- What do you want to teach volunteers? How does this align with your organization’s mission?
- Who will do the training? When? Where? What are the logistics?