By Diana Herst
Recruiting volunteers who understand and support your mission is one challenge you have to overcome as a nonprofit. But the biggest challenge of all might just be retaining volunteers, especially in a time when nonprofits is battling for the same resources. Here are a few of our thoughts on volunteer retention.
Volunteers Want to Do More Than Just Help
Your volunteers want to support your mission and help you achieve a greater impact in the world, but have you ever thought of other motives they may have? Even though they are volunteers, you can still go the extra mile to keep them on board. They may be interested in expanding their network or developing their professional skills. What you can offer your volunteers is vital to retain them. In order to understand your volunteers’ motives, you need to listen to their wants and their needs. Support them when they show interest in starting up a new initiative for your organization, and assign them with tasks they are excited about. Working with volunteers is about giving and taking.
It goes without saying that volunteers who offer their time and skills to support you in your mission need to be acknowledged and appreciated for the work they do. Saying thank you goes a long way, but there are numerous certain accomplishments or giving them more responsibilities if they are interested additional ways to show your appreciation, like hosting a volunteer appreciation party, awarding certificates for.
Educate for Retention
Volunteers are not helping your organization – they are helping the cause your organization stands for. Educating your volunteers will keep them informed on the cause, reminding them their support is much needed and at the same time showing them you are willing and able to provide them with the information they need to stay knowledgeable.
Impact matters, no matter how small. Show your volunteers they are changing the world by highlighting success and showing impact. Seeing the results derived from their hard work keeps them motivated to continue to support your mission.
Build a Community
There’s more than just keeping volunteers committed to your cause. Your volunteers should feel empowered to utilize each other as a resource and to be able to work together to help you achieve a greater impact in the world. Building a community can be done in several ways, for example by hosting volunteer gatherings a few times per year, or by building an online community portal or forum, allowing them to reach out to each other for advice.
roundCorner exists to support the mission of nonprofits, institutions of higher education and foundations of all sizes. If you’d like to receive information about our products and services, please get in touch with us here.
Diana Herst is roundCorner’s Marketing Manager. Previously, she fulfilled the same position for local and international tech companies. Outside of work, Diana volunteers her time to the Alzheimer’s Association., and enjoys culinary adventures and travel.