Volunteerism has changed and evolved over the course of time. Some non-profit organizations were able to keep up with these changes while others have not. Now is the perfect time to check on your current volunteer program and assess whether they’re at par with industry practices or not.
Gone are the days when calling your volunteers in a meeting and giving them general instructions is enough. Volunteers nowadays expect so much more. They are more demanding and may want more than just generic programs. What they’re after is a pleasantly unique experience that is both fun and fulfilling.
Ways To Keep Your Volunteers Happy
The best thing that you can do to make your volunteers stay and motivated is to keep them happy and fulfilled. Each organization is different and may require a customized approach but here are the foundations where you can build and revamp your programs to keep your volunteers happy.
1. Be prepared and organized
The biggest turn off that volunteers experience is coming to an organization that is unorganized and haven’t figured out how to go about its activities. Volunteers in this situation will only feel disrespected and undervalued. Before taking your volunteers fully on board, ensure that your programs are polished and that your job descriptions are reviewed and accomplished.
2. Warm welcome
Never allow your volunteers to feel uncomfortable even for a minute. Everyone wants to feel welcome especially when entering a new organization. Treat your organization as a home and your volunteers as guests. Let senior volunteers mingle with them and ask directors to drop by and say hello. This is the best way to show that your organization has a happy and a friendly environment.
3. Rouse their interest
You cannot keep modern volunteers by asking them to do clerical work like answering emails all day, mindless filing or data entry. Although clerical work in non-profit organizations are inevitable, try to balance the work load out for your volunteers by putting in complex activities in their task list. The best way to figure this out is to talk to your volunteers and ask them where they’re good at and what they doing. Then draft a work list for them, gauge their reaction and revise accordingly. Put in place the latest technology that automates as much of this as possible, and provides new tools for volunteers to learn.
4. Tasks that develop their skills
One of the top reasons why people volunteer is to develop their skills. Most often it is their leadership skills that they want to enhance. Provide opportunities for them to play this part and evaluate them objectively after. Try to make a program for each key skill and discuss areas where they need to improve on after. They will feel motivated and happy once they see your efforts in helping them become better and uncovering their other skills and passions.
5. Be transparent
Transparency is vital in non-profit organizations. Your volunteers would want to know how the organization is doing. This can be financial matters or other concerns. Discuss your strategy with them and goals in figures. This will make them see how their contributions directly or indirectly affect the organization and will motivate them to bring more to the table.
6. Appreciate them
Tell your volunteers how much you appreciate their work either verbal or through letters. This is a simple yet powerful way to strengthen their morale and make them feel that they are being recognized by the group.
7. Communicate well and often
Communication means so much more today than ever. It not just talking to your volunteers or listening to them. It is a relationship that needs time and effort to build. The advancement in telecommunications have made communication more accessible so it would not hurt to send them a personal SMS or email thrice a week or, if you can, daily. This will make volunteers feel that someone is actually concerned and is looking after them. You will see that they will reciprocate this by working harder and putting in more time for the group.