Nonprofit Volunteerism: Motivating Volunteers for Better Retention
You cannot run a nonprofit organization or create meaningful projects without the help of volunteers. These people keep your organization active and running. At the same time, offering volunteer opportunities allows you to help young people in various areas. You can help them develop transferable skills, practice empathy, and support academic success and personal development.
Volunteerism isn’t only vital for your nonprofit’s growth and the volunteers’ learning. It also benefits the communities your organization is serving. Some of these benefits include building homes for the homeless, beautifying local areas, providing meals for the hungry, conserving environmental resources, and more. Continue reading to find out how your nonprofit can motivate your volunteers and encourage them to keep coming back.
1. Create a solid community
Showcasing an amazing cause isn’t the only thing that can make your volunteers motivated. They also need a community that makes them feel welcome and valued. This is what ties them to your cause and nonprofit. To establish a strong community, you can organize socials for the volunteers. Or, you can have meals together before working on your projects. You’d be surprised how food can go a long way. No matter what tactic or event you use, the goal is to connect your current volunteers with the new ones.
2. Always show appreciation
Committed volunteers can go above and beyond to support your cause, and showing them your appreciation is something you shouldn’t miss out on. Acknowledge every action they do and reward them if necessary. Thanking them can encourage them to do more and stay for longer. You can send them thank-you letters, give them personal merchandise, and have a celebratory night out. There are plenty of ways you can show your appreciation to your volunteers. Considering your volunteers’ interests and needs and your organization’s budget can help pick the right one to go for.
3. Support their professional goals
Helping your volunteers grow professionally is a surefire way to motivate them and keep them in your nonprofit for longer. You can sponsor industry-relevant training courses like dental assistant training programs to help them master the professional field they choose. If you have a limited budget, opt for short training programs or part-time courses. This is also a great way to make them more effective when advocating for your cause. You can also provide in-house training sessions that are focused on volunteerism and your nonprofit’s cause. And towards their professional development, you can write them letters of recommendation or additional mentoring if necessary.
4. Be flexible with project schedules
It’s normal for volunteers to get exhausted if they handle multiple projects on schedules that don’t work for them. Make it convenient for them by letting them choose the assignments and schedules that suit their preferences. For instance, you can make remote work an option, especially for those with family to take care of. You can also use an online collaborative calendar to make scheduling and project tracking easier for everyone. The calendar should show all critical dates, upcoming events, or future projects. Clearly communicate everything to your volunteers to avoid potential scheduling or availability issues.
5. Offer a meaningful experience
One mistake you should avoid is giving menial tasks to your volunteers. They participated in your nonprofit to support your cause. As much as you can, provide them with meaningful experience. Offer channels for internal communication and outlets for them to engage with your cause. For more experienced volunteers, you can offer them a chance to create content like videos and blogs about your cause and nonprofit. You can also provide exclusive networking experiences and workshops to make them feel more valued. Give them opportunities to connect with your target communities personally.
6. Value their feedback
To improve your nonprofit’s volunteer program, regularly ask for feedback. This is an excellent way to show the volunteers you care about their opinions and experiences with your nonprofit. Respond to them promptly and appropriately when they provide you with thoughtful feedback. Address their concerns and come up with clarifications. Volunteers that feel valued and heard are more likely to stay involved in your organization. You can use online forms to collect details from your participants in a faster and easier manner.
Your volunteers are your assets in filling gaps in critical services and keeping your nonprofit and projects intact. These strategies can guide you in establishing a more positive experience for your volunteers. Don’t forget to listen to your group’s diverse perspectives too. No matter what motivation tactics you do, remember never to take your volunteers for granted.