8 Wonderful Ways to Keep Your Volunteers Coming Back
1. Thank your volunteers and thank them again. Show appreciation in varied ways and always mention those who make your organizational successful.
2. Rewards. People react to many motivations. Making connections, being seen at your events, and becoming more immersed in the experiences of your staff and constituents are all perks with appeal. Remember that some individuals get involved to have more contact with others in event and social settings. Some of your most dedicated folks may be easing back into work-related settings after retirement, the loss of spouse, as grandchildren have left for college. Get to know them and what excites them about what you do.
3. Provide an experience connected to your cause. Nurture engagement–not just tasks needed by your organization. The stories of those whose lives are enriched or changed by your nonprofit’s work will inspire your volunteers.
4. Create a community or team from your volunteers base. Connecting with them and maintaining open communication channels among your staff and volunteers help to build community. In-person thanks and feedback events are the best ways to fuel connection between work opportunities. These can be supported by electronic (such as discussion forums) and feedback tools (like surveys) but there’s nothing like thanking them with a party or just picking up the phone.
5. Share your volunteers’ success stories to demonstrate the importance difference they make. Showcase them and how their time and talent contribute to your organization’s growth.
6. Honor in both big and small ways. Small recognition efforts mean a lot. People donating their time and assistance to your mission will appreciate being recognized by name in print, online, and in event settings. A token or certificate for service is always a nice touch. Consider designating a “Volunteer of the Month” recognition or something that occasionally features them in your newsletter, social media, and other outlets.
7. Cultivate for bigger roles. Your volunteers may also be leaders — staff, advisors, board members, and consultants. Your volunteer pool may yield not only other human resources, but donors. Sure you’ll have some who just want to show up and assist with whatever task you provide.
8. Grow your volunteer pool through recruitment! Word of mouth is great advertising. Your volunteers are likely your best recruitment asset. Provide ways for them to invite others to join in. Gather information about the best way to reach the contacts of your volunteers and provide information in what ever medium is more easily shared by members of your volunteer pool.
Think about who volunteers with your organization. Know them well enough to make the best assignments and to provide the perks that will keep them coming back–and telling others about your mission and the roles they play in your success.