Good volunteers don’t just appear, they are created. The volunteer relationship begins with people driven to make an impact in their community. They choose to give of their time, talents, and energy to help organizations like yours every day. Volunteers come to you with good intentions. In order to keep them you must have a system in place for volunteer management.
Here are a few tips for effective volunteer management that will help you attract, motivate and retain incredible volunteers.
#1: Create a System for Clear Communication
Everything I will share with you today will hinge on your communication strategy. Your communication strategy begins the day the volunteer shows interest. How you communicate regarding the culture, the mission, the work and the reporting is critical to how they will fit into your organization.
As a leader of a non-profit organization, you have competing priorities and more work than you can physically accomplish. It’s easy to lose sight of serving your volunteers in addition to your constituents. You must have a consistent schedule for communication with your volunteers. I’m a fan of having a monthly volunteer call to update everyone on both the progress and needs of the organization. If they consistently understand the needs and impact, they are more likely to remain engaged.
#2: Create a System for Training and Support
Every volunteer comes to your organization with varying levels of experience, skills, availability, backgrounds, education, communications skills, etc. You cannot assume that just because someone is interested in helping that they know how to represent your organization. You see, volunteers mean well but without being educated on the culture, processes, expectations, etc. they will perform as best they can. Their uneducated best will not always align with your brand standard. If you want your volunteers to perform at brand standard, you must first teach them what that means.
Every person who enters your organization should first attend an orientation to learn about the organization. Then, they must be trained in their specific role. I’m a fan of creating a repository of videos that everyone must watch BEFORE their first assignment.
#3: Create a System for Recognition and Appreciation
Everyone likes to know that they are appreciated. Recognizing volunteer’s contributions will help to keep them encouraged and motivated to continue their work. Your monthly volunteer meetings is a fantastic time to perform this recognition.
Recognition can be as simple as a certificate or plaque that they can display at home or their workplace. Creating an opportunity for them to share their accomplishments goes a long way. Perhaps you have a traveling trophy of sorts. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, it simply needs to be personalized and sincere. First, spend the time to get to know your volunteers to better understand what motivates them. This will help you decide how to express your appreciation for their accomplishments.
You need your volunteers to lead parts of your mission and they need you to lead them. Implement these three tips to create a positive and rewarding experience. Volunteers who understand their role, are supported and rewarded are more likely to stay with your organization for years.
We’re just beginning to scratch the surface on how to effectively manage your volunteers. If you’d like to learn more about how to train and retain volunteers, I encourage you to get started building your Volunteer Management System today. If you need a little help getting started, try downloading our Volunteer Training Templates.
These Canva templates are plug and play. That means we guide you through creating your volunteer success training. Click the graphic above and get immediate access to the training templates you need to create your Volunteer Impact Army.