Volunteers are people who take on huge responsibilities for a cause they believe in. They’re known as people who commit endless amounts of time to events, campaigns, non-profits, or just a worthy cause.
They volunteer because they know that certain causes wouldn’t reach their desired goal if it wasn’t for the efforts of unpaid labor. Most make themselves available for causes near and dear to them because they want to see change.
But oftentimes, volunteering can take a toll. Keeping volunteers happy and engaged is just as important as working hard for the cause. Without their help, organizations and campaigns would quickly fall apart.
Everyone knows the rewarding feeling of helping someone out. Whether it be a family member or a local charity, the feeling of giving back to your loved ones and your community is wonderful.
Volunteers do the hard work involved because they want to, but it is important to sometimes be reminded that your hard work is seen and appreciated. I mean, right?
Knowing your volunteers, and I mean really knowing, is the first step. For example, if you know they are busy with work and are sacrificing precious time to be there, you can 1. thank them and 2. ask about those areas of their lives.
Interacting with them both during and outside of the workspace can also be helpful. Putting together fun events like a volunteer party or an outing can make everyone feel like they’re working together towards something great.
If that is beyond the budget, rewarding your team by bringing a treat to the office is a nice way of saying thank you. Showing this kind of appreciation has been proven to help people work harder and be happier.
Having a Strategy
Sometimes finding volunteers who are passionate about a cause is not too difficult to find. But having a clear cut mission and agenda for them is important. Valuing their time and energy is key to keeping them motivated.
If your team feels they are working hard towards a cause and seeing results, chances are they’ll want to keep working at it.
That being said, not all volunteers will have the same strengths or skills. Knowing what your team needs is also an important step to growing your base. If you divide tasks equally amongst volunteers with different areas of expertise, you’ll have better results all around.
If you’re unsure of how to assess new volunteers in terms of skills, setting up a profile for each might help you get a better idea of their abilities.
Asking for Feedback
An often overlooked way of improving working relationships is through feedback. You don’t want your people to ever feel overlooked or ignored, and asking for their input helps eliminate that.
Allowing them to offer solutions makes them feel more involved and increases their responsibility. When people feel accountable for their work strategies, it makes them take control of their work better.
Remember that your volunteers ARE donors. This makes them just as valuable, if not more, as someone who is donating money to your cause.
For this reason, you’ll want to treat your team with the respect they deserve. Being transparent about your cause’s mission is the first step to keeping everyone on the same page.
Letting them ask questions about how your efforts are helping your team reach their goals is necessary.
Volunteers should also be encouraged to do the research on your organization. It is exciting to offer help to an organization that looks very promising, but volunteers should know what they’re getting into.
The more transparent you are with any data they might need, the more they’ll be able to know if this is a cause they actually support.
If they are misled, it’s more likely that they’ll not stay there as long as they hoped to be. Often times, organizations will put together an engagement policy. This allows leaders and volunteers alike to create policies that are agreed on from all sides.
Caring For Your Volunteers
Your organization means the world to you, and your volunteers put so much time and effort into keeping it up and running. Showing your volunteers your appreciation and respecting their time is essential in advancing your cause.
Check out our blog for other helpful practices to manage your team.