If you want volunteers to keep volunteering, your nonprofit organization must support them. Here are 5 ways to better support your volunteers and drive the most value from them in 2023.
One of the best ways to get the most value from your existing volunteers is by making sure that they are engaged, empowered, and supported. Providing a high-level of support to volunteers should start from the beginning and stretch the entirety of their experience with your organization. When volunteers do not feel supported, they can quickly become burned out and disengaged from your mission. To reduce the risk of burnout, it is crucial that you consider a volunteer’s motivation for giving, their allotted time for volunteerism, and their skill-set. Here are 5 ways to support your volunteers in 2023 and set them up for long-term success within your volunteer program.
Communicate Volunteer Impact Continuously
Most volunteers have a connection to your organizations mission in some way or another, that is what drove them to become a volunteer in the first place. Continuously reinforcing your organizations mission and sharing its impact will keep volunteers committed, and remind them of the “why.” Some of the best ways to demonstrate volunteer impact include sharing personal stories, communicating program outcomes, displaying videos and photos of volunteers in action, and allowing your dedicated volunteers to be involved in the story. The organizations that do the best job communicating volunteer impact are the ones who humanize their programs. Support your volunteers by motivating them.
Invest in Training
In order for volunteers to be successful and feel supported, they need to be trained. Your organization should use training as an opportunity to outline expectations and responsibilities, establish objectives, introduce tools and procedures, and fill knowledge gaps. Training is often one of the first touch-points your organization will have with volunteers, so, it is important to use training as an opportunity to reinforce mission and communicate program goals.
Keep in mind, training should be an ongoing process. Your volunteers should have outlets to provide and receive feedback with the ultimate goal of improving overtime.
Here is an article that outlines the 7 key elements of an effective volunteer training program.
Help Volunteer Acquire New Skills
Volunteerism is not a one-way street…your organization must provide volunteers with value in exchange for their time. One of the best ways to create value for volunteers and support their personal goals is by helping them acquire new skill-sets. Skill-sets that can positively impact their life and career objectives. Talk to your volunteers and find out what they would like to learn from their volunteer experience. Doing so, communicates that you care about their motivations and can help to reinforce their decision to volunteer in the first place.
Check out this article on how volunteerism helps with career development.
Make the Process of Finding New Opportunities and Registering Easy
There are few things more frustrating to volunteers than an outdated system for finding and registering for new volunteer opportunities. Your recruitment and volunteer registration process needs to be up-to-date and allow volunteers to view and sign-up for opportunities online. The less barriers the better. Streamlining your programs recruitment and registration process will show volunteers that you value their time and are invested in the efficiency of the program.
Investing in volunteer management software, like VolunteerHub, can help your organization provide volunteers with an engaging recruitment and registration experience.
Here are a few of the benefits on volunteer management software and how it can positively benefit your program.
Recognition, Rewards, Gamification
Effectively supporting your volunteers goes beyond just communicating practices, procedures, goals, and training. Frequent rewards and recognition are a crucial step to keeping volunteers engaged and encouraged to give. There are many ways that your organization can reward volunteers including sending personalized thank-you emails, hosting a rewards banquet, providing discounts to local businesses, and deploying a gamification program that offers prizes to your top volunteers.
Check out how Gateway Pet Guardians is using VolunteerHub’s gamification module to challenge and reward volunteers here.
When it comes to running an effective volunteer program, providing great support is a must. Your organization can support volunteers by communicating impact, investing in training, focusing on skill-development, making registration as easy as possible, and continuously rewarding and recognizing.