Volunteers are the key of any good non-profit organization. From the Board of Directors to the conference bag stuffers, there is an array of tasks to be done all of which volunteers do to keep an organization look good and satisfy the services they provide. With volunteers being an absolute need of an organization then your first priority is to keep them happy to the point that they want to come back for MORE!
How do you keep them happy?
- Make it easy for them to sign-up.
A volunteer may want to help an organization that offers gratification to a passion for them but may not know who to contact.
- Have a link on the organization website that clearly states volunteers are needed.
- Use VolunteerMatch – this site provides space for non-profits to list specific volunteer needs and volunteers are matched with non-profits by interest and location.
- Once you do have the volunteer email, you can schedule and set-up the volunteer tasks with VolunteerSpot. It’s a FREE volunteer management software, instead of sending several emails back and forth with Reply All to make sure all volunteers know what needs to be done, this site makes it super easy to get everyone all on the same page.
- Be Prepared & Welcome Them!
Have everything ready for them when they come in.
- Give them a quick tour of your organization so they know where the bathroom is and where all the necessary tools they need are for their task.
- Designate a couple of people they can have contact with throughout the day for any questions or needs they may have. You don’t want them to wander around looking for help.
- Offer them a beverage or snack before they get started. (Get Ready for Tip#4!)
- Train them.
Volunteers are not mind readers. They need to know exactly how things are done so be ready to give them a tutorial or demonstration.
- Have the staff person who knows what needs to be done from start to finish train the volunteer.
- A cheat sheet with a run down of steps to be done would be helpful.
- If there a lot of steps to list on a cheat sheet, you may want to split the task into two and have another volunteer get the second half done.
- Instructions are important! If they start feeling lost, they will feel incompetent therefore they will not want to volunteer with the organization again.
- If they are traveling or attending a conference on behalf of the organization, give them full details of where to go and what to do about 2-3 times prior to the event. They will love you for the reminders and the comfort of knowing someone cares about them.
- Feed Them!
This is probably the most important step. Make sure you have those donuts, bagels, COFFEE, tea, water, etc.
- Extremely serious tip here! This will keep them coming back to volunteer again.
- No one can work with their stomach grumbling.
- The volunteer will be able to focus on the task with a full stomach.
- Cater from a tasty restaurant for lunch.
- It seems silly but it’s a simple way to show your hospitality and appreciation to your volunteers.
- Give them a Thank You gift.
Do something simple whilst not breaking the bank. Volunteers are taking time off of work or taking time away from family to devote good time with your organization. Show them appreciation!
- If you sell products, perhaps you have some items in the discontinued bin such as: a t-shirt, magnet, pen or pin.
- A conference shirt with the organization logo.
- A thank you card with a small monetary gift card for their favorite store.
- Anything awesomely done exclusive by the organization.
Following these 5 Simple Tips will make your volunteers happy. The key is to make them happy from beginning to end then they will want to come back. It’s the satisfaction of doing something for others and knowing they did GOOD is what volunteering is all about.
If you know of an organization that works well with their volunteers let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear about them!
Lillian De Jesus