Volunteers are also representatives of the organizations they serve, especially if they’re in public-facing positions like those associated with fundraising or direct client services. If volunteers are worn-out or unenthused about the work they’re doing, the individuals they’re working with might have second thoughts about supporting your organization.
Plus, as advocates for your organization, the information they share in their social circles will travel. Volunteers suffering from burnout may critique your organization or speak negatively about the work you do, ultimately discouraging their friends from getting involved.”
6 Ways to Re-Engage Your Nonprofit’s Volunteer Team
Develop growth in volunteer roles
You can also offer workshops, webinars, or online courses on topics related to your mission. Doing so will not only help volunteers improve their skills but also give them a better understanding of your organization’s work.
Nonprofitready.org lists hundreds of (free!) nonprofit-specific courses. Additionally, Nonprofit Tech for Good regularly hosts webinars on topics very relevant to nonprofit work and offers training programs on things such as Social Media Marketing & Fundraising Best Practices for Nonprofits.
Offer leadership opportunities.
Another idea is to invite volunteers to manage projects your organization needs to take on but doesn’t have the capacity to initiate. For example, building your social media presence, creating content, or holding a community event to inform, educate, and potentially help with volunteer recruitment.
This United Way e-book lays out a comprehensive process of developing a volunteer leadership program.
Regularly recognize their efforts.
Volunteer management platforms are another beneficial tool for small and large nonprofits. Using one, you can organize shifts, promote volunteer opportunities, track hours served, and more. Nonprofit Growth’s roundup of volunteer management software options (some are free!) is a great resource to get started.
Connect with your volunteers.
- Keeping them updated on what’s going on within the organization. Being in the loop or, if you’re feeling particularly alliterative, tree of trust makes just about anyone feel they matter.
- Regularly asking for feedback and implementing helpful ideas to improve organizational processes. By asking for thoughts and then taking action, you’re demonstrating to volunteers that their opinions matter and that you’re always working to improve their experience.
- Taking a moment to get to know them on a personal level.
Create a volunteer management program
If your volunteer management process is slightly more organized than a room full of cats, that’s ok! Using Volunteer Hub’s article Volunteer Management Process: 4 Effective Strategie, you can make headway starting now. It lays out four steps your organization can take immediately to implement a process.
Engaging Volunteers Is at The Heart of Nonprofit Work
For adults, his counsel evolves into BE a helper. Without people volunteering their time and energy, the good would not get done, whether that’s the people checking in participants at a local run for a cause or a large-scale response in a crisis event. And we can all agree that the world definitely needs more helpers. Inspiring more of that energy in service of the greater good is possibly the most important thing we can do.
P.S. If you’re having a problem recruiting volunteers, this article by Jayne Cravens offers excellent, actionable information.