How to engage and retain volunteers

Volunteers are essential for pulling off successful events and manages some day-to-day tasks during busy seasons. While volunteering is personally rewarding for individuals, nonprofits may need to give more consideration to how they recruit, engage and retain these people. Even though volunteers make the choice to serve an organization, your program can end up being more work for employees when they have to constantly retrain new volunteers. Skilled individuals can make valuable contributions to a charity, but you need to put plans in place to work with this group and help develop them. Don't get too wrapped up in processing donations to consider volunteer engagement.

Some organizations take a haphazard approach to volunteer recruitment and let anyone sign up. However, when the responsibilities are similar to a job, more thought may be necessary to get the right people, according to npENGAGE. This is especially true if you need volunteers for a particular project and you should consider the skills these individuals will need to meet the goals. 

Promote volunteer opportunities on your organization's social media pages. If donors are engaged enough to follow you on these networks, they may be interested in volunteering as well. 

It's a good idea to find out what each volunteer is interested in gaining from the experience. Whether it's professional office skills or just a desire to give back to the community, having this information can help you assign more relevant responsibilities. They will most likely be more engaged in the work when performing tasks that relate to their unique interests. Matching volunteers to activities that fit their skills and interests is a great way to get the most out of them.

It's important to provide some volunteer management training for nonprofit employees who will be running the program, The Nonprofit Times suggested. Having a good relationship with the supervisor can make volunteers more engaged and keep projects on track. 

In addition, you need to take the time to show appreciation for volunteers. They selflessly give their time without asking for anything, but saying thank you and acknowledging hard-working individuals can keep people coming back. You can dedicate a page on your website to volunteers, and this gives you a chance to celebrate an individual's efforts. While some organizations throw parties for volunteers, this may not always be possible, but small shows of appreciation can make a big difference. 

Back to News