Attracting and Retaining Volunteers

Attracting and Retaining Volunteers

August 5, 2016

According to Independent Sector, a volunteer’s time is worth over $22 per hour.  Last year alone, 62.8 million Americans volunteered almost 8 billion hours.  As a nonprofit, you know how valuable these people are to your organization.  By paying attention to how you work with your volunteers, you attract their devotion, enhance their experience, and make them part of your mission over the long term.

The Urban Institute reports that nonprofits need to center efforts on enriching volunteer experiences.  Of those surveyed, many volunteers felt as though there was too little direction and not enough management of their duties.  Sadly, they felt that they were wasting their time. 

Follow the steps below and improve your volunteer programs in no time:

Enlisting Volunteers

How do you solicit new volunteers?  One of the easiest and most cost-efficient tools is your website.  Your website should be easy to manage and have clear direction to additional information.  Your call to action (something that says “Click Here to Volunteer”) needs to be simple and easy to find.  Your messaging should be consistent, warm and insightful.  You can even achieve a personal touch by creating customized landing pages, which can call attention to specific campaigns, events, or organizational goals.  Customization can help people feel connected to your organization by tapping into what each person is interested in from your organization.

Matching Volunteers

Finding the best fit for volunteers is imperative.  You can do so by identifying them by skillset and interests.  Just as your organization works to group donors by their interest and level, your volunteers need the same attention.  They are time donors and are just as important as your monetary donors. This alignment will improve the quality of their experiences and help you with the third component…

Retaining Volunteers

Enlisting and training volunteers is an investment of your resources.  So, take the extra time to keep your volunteers engaged with your organization.  Just as you take care of your donors with personalized recognition, you need to honor your volunteers’ contribution and solicit their feedback in order to better understand what is missing from your program, what needs help, and what is succeeding.  To increase retention, you must invest in matching, training, and recognition.

These steps just scratch the surface of setting up a volunteer program. It’s a difficult (and often overlooked) area for organizations. However, putting the necessary thought and time into setting up effective programs will pay dividends with those who engage with you on a regular basis.

Have you had success working with volunteers in your organization? Share it with us in the comments below!

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