Work hard to keep your volunteers in the flock.
Nonprofits work hard to bring in volunteers and train them, but all too often the training and retaining ends there. One woman volunteered for years at a local organization working in one specific area on a weekly basis. At the beginning of 2010 they no longer needed volunteers for that task because of staff efficiencies – which was great news! But as a volunteer she was left wondering what she would do now to help. Most of their volunteer opportunities were Monday – Friday, which she couldn’t do because she worked. Since they made no overtures to keep her, she found another group to volunteer with.
How could they have done a better job with communication, particularly online communication, to help keep her as a loyal supporter?
Try these five tips to retain volunteers:
- Target web and email content based on volunteer interest.
- Survey volunteers online to see what they like and what ideas they have for improvement.
- Encourage volunteers to network with one another online to keep them engaged and facilitate a community
- Create and send a volunteer newsletter updating your potential and current volunteers on activities and the impact of their volunteering. For example, having a “Volunteer of the Month” is a great way to highlight and thank your loyal volunteers!
- Ask lapsed volunteers, either online or through email, why they haven’t volunteered. What can you as an organization do differently to rekindle their interest? You won’t know unless you ask!
What could you do to engage your volunteers and make them more loyal to your organization? What about organizing some free training sessions to upgrade their online skills? They’ll thank you for opening their world.