What nonprofit doesn’t want more volunteers and supporters? Focusing on your recruiting efforts alone could potentially leave you with a lot of volunteers that may not be a right fit for your organization. Inspiring volunteers to be a part of your mission is only the first step in recruiting quality volunteers.
When recruiting and engaging your potential volunteers you want to make sure they are aligned with your nonprofit’s mission. The challenge is, how do you make sure you are recruiting the right volunteers? Here are a few ways you can make sure you are finding the right volunteers for your organization:
During your first interaction with new volunteers it is important to get to know them. By taking the time to build relationships with your new volunteers, you can understand why they want to be a part of your organization. Here are a few questions you could ask:
- Do they have a special connection with our cause?
- Do they have a special expertise our organization could use?
- Are they seeking to develop a certain skill by working with our organization?
- Are they willing to dedicate their time consistently?
- What type of experience are they looking for while working with our nonprofit?
You may not want to bombard your new volunteers with 21 questions, this could be overwhelming. Keep these questions in the back of your mind when you are interacting with your volunteers. This will help you understand their motivation for giving their time to your cause.
During your training program, establishing expectations is important. You want your volunteers to know what you are looking for when they give their time. No one likes to waste time, especially if it is their own. This will give them the opportunity to walk away if they cannot meet your guidelines.
Make your expectations simple and clear. By clearly communicating what you expect from your volunteers you are establishing a great foundation for the future.
Create a Consistent Tone and Message
By creating consistency with your messaging, volunteers will associate certain words or phrases with your cause. If they connect with your messaging, your organization has potential to attract more like-minded individuals.
Make sure all of your communications are consistent on the following:
Effective Training Program
An effective training program doesn’t only consist of a booklet with guidelines, expectations, and procedures. Properly screening your volunteers before they give their time can ensure they are who they say they are. It will protect them as well as your nonprofit you work so hard to preserve and grow.
Strengthening relationships with your volunteers takes time. This is not something that happens overnight. However, you want to make relationships with your volunteers a priority. This can ensure that you have quality volunteers that are the right match for your cause.
Let’s say a volunteer has to do a few community hours for their job. They picked your organization to volunteer with but do not plan on sticking around after the hours are completed. If you take time to cultivate a connection with this individual, you may create a lifelong supporter.
There may be times where you are missing out on opportunities to connect with your supporters. Requesting feedback is a great way to make sure you stay in line with your mission and the expectations you set for your nonprofit.
This is also another great way to connect with your volunteers. If they feel as though you truly listen to their needs, it could encourage them to spend more time with your organization. After all, volunteers value appreciation in any form.
Volunteering isn’t only for your nonprofit’s benefit but for your volunteers as well. You want to make sure your volunteers are receiving the experience they are looking for. By encouraging transparency with your team, it will make sure your volunteers feel comfortable and trust your organization. After all trust is one of the key factors in a strong relationship.
Another way to be transparent with your volunteers is by communicating how their time is helping the betterment of your mission. Volunteers want to know that their contribution to your organization is growing or strengthening your cause. Show them how they are making a difference and you could create lasting supporters.
Having plenty of volunteers is very valuable but you also want to make sure you have quality volunteers. You don’t want to waste anyone’s’ time, especially your own. Build relationships, set expectations, and clearly communicate your mission. In no time you will have volunteers who are a perfect match for your cause!