One of the hardest parts of running a nonprofit organization is getting people in the community active in volunteering. Many people find that they don’t have time or that they simply don’t know about the wonderful opportunities that could be presented to them. There will be two different strategies for getting volunteers for your organization. First, is to bring new people in and second is to maintain the volunteers you have. Similar to sales, you must nurture your volunteers and make them love being there.
Nurture your current volunteers
- Give volunteers what they want. Yes, they’re volunteering to help the better good of the people but volunteers don’t want to sit around sweeping all day. They want to be active and feel needed. Provide volunteers with responsibilities that are helping the organization first hand.
- Tell volunteers what to expect. Sometimes, volunteers have this unrealistic picture in their head that they’ll be saving the world their first day. Make it clear what is to be expected from them ahead of time so there is no miscommunications.
- Make the commitment convenient. Many organizations tell volunteers they need a certain amount of hours per month but finding an alternative to this model will benefit your organization in the long run. Having volunteers give notice a couple weeks in advance doesn’t make the program seem strict like work.
- Show appreciation. Everyone wants to know that their hard work is being noticed and going toward the greater good. It can be as simple as just saying thank you throughout the day or as extensive as throwing a volunteer appreciation party.
Obtaining new volunteers
- Make the benefits clear. Let’s be honest, high school kids have the most free time so how do you attract them? Make the benefits of volunteering clear. Volunteering allows people to gain work experience and looks great on resumes and college applications. Go to schools and try recruiting. An unemployment office will give you the same results with an older demographic.
- Make the experience a group project. People these days hate doing things by themselves. Make the volunteer jobs group jobs and recruit people in groups, rather than individually.
- Check out VolunteerMatch. This great website will bring your organization to the forefront and let people who like volunteering, see your opportunities. They’ll match you with the perfect candidates.
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