Did you know that according to studies 7 out of 10 volunteers do not come back? If your nonprofit utilizes a volunteer workforce retention is crucial to success.

Volunteers are a critical part of nonprofit success. In fact, many nonprofits around the world operate using a 100% volunteer workforce. In the United States alone, there are 1.8 million nonprofits. Talk about impact and the importance of supporters! With the rising need for volunteers comes the need for strategic management. Lack of management contributes to the average 30% volunteer retention rate that plagues charity organizations worldwide. In today’s post, we will discuss several ways to manage and maintain a volunteer workforce.

Let’s get started with five actionable tips.

Tip #1: Create a strong sense of togetherness

A lot of volunteer programs focus outreach efforts around the impact that a single volunteer can make towards a cause. While the personal impact of volunteerism is important to communicate to prospects so is togetherness. Creating a sense of community towards mission attainment can help build fellowship. Creating a community also has the ability to create super-supporters. Finally, developing a community and broadcasting it to prospects can create additional value and incentives to give. People naturally want to be part of a team working towards a goal.

Tip #2: Make the Onboarding Process Easy

The onboarding process can make or break a nonprofits relationship with volunteers. Onboarding needs to start from the beginning of the volunteer registration process. Nonprofits that are successful with onboarding use this process to introduce volunteers to others, welcome and thank, communicate important info and guidelines, introduce communication outlets, and provide next steps. Did you know that 69% of people are more likely to stay with an organization if they experienced good onboarding? Retaining a volunteer workforce starts at the beginning.

Here are a few ways to enhance onboarding:

  • Set expectations / understand volunteer expectations
  • Encourage volunteers to build connections
  • Identify volunteer strengths/weaknesses
  • Communicate personal/group impact
  • Screen volunteers/provide next steps

Tip #3: Train, Trian, Train

Training is an important step to help a volunteer workforce make the biggest impact. Volunteer training can also set the stage for expectations and processes. Nonprofits should use training as a continues opportunity to grow and invest in supporters. Volunteers who are better trained are more likely to pursue additional opportunity-fulfillment in the future.

Here are a few tips for training supporters:

  • Provide on-going training opportunities to reinstill mission.
  • Create a plan detailing the training schedule for each volunteer.
  • Develop a budget for training.
  • Make training comfortable and engaging.
  • Follow-up with volunteers to identify growth opportunities.

Tip #4: Provide Volunteer Workforce with Progress Data

Volunteers want to understand how their contributions are impacting a nonprofit’s mission. Providing volunteers with insights about opportunity fulfillment and organizational growth is critical. Insights and metrics may also challenge a volunteer to do more. Demonstrating impact to a volunteer workforce is easier than you may think.

Here are a few ways to communicate results:

  • Provide volunteers with the facts (good or bad).
  • Provide volunteers with data that is personal and actionable.
  • Communicate impact through storytelling (put a face to the mission)

Tip #5: Review Your Existing Volunteer Program

Your current volunteer program may have flaws. Download our report below to review your program and optimize results.