As a nonprofit, you know how essential volunteers are to furthering your cause. According to the National Council of Nonprofits, there are 12.3 million nonprofit employees and more than 64 million nonprofit board members and volunteers in the United States. That said, it can be a challenge to bring in new volunteers and keep them interacting with your organization.
Here are a few tips to bring in new volunteers and keep them engaged in 2022.
Make it easy for volunteers to sign up for a shift by setting up a page on your website that highlights the volunteering opportunities your organization has. Allow volunteers to simply sign up online for volunteer shifts on the same page. The last thing you want is for a potential volunteer to be too frustrated to sign up for an opportunity and no longer want to volunteer.
After volunteers have registered online for their shift, the system should be set up to send an automatic and custom confirmation email verifying the exact date, time, and location of their shift. This allows your volunteers to easily save the date and time, and add it to their personal calendar and they are more likely to show up for their shift.
Put time into building relationships with your volunteers. Remember the last time you went to an event or social gathering, and you instantly felt more comfortable because you knew people there? This is the same for volunteers; when you start building relationships with volunteers, they will be eager to come back and continue engaging because they don’t feel like a stranger.
Good ways to do that include being responsive and asking for helpful feedback on how your organization can improve the volunteering experience. You can also assign leadership roles to volunteers who have a lot of experience at your organization. This is a great way to show volunteers that they are valued and begin a relationship because you are entrusting them with larger tasks within the organization.
Keep your volunteers up to date with your organization by letting them know when new opportunities are available. Easily do so by posting volunteer opportunities on your social media! Those looking to volunteer may not immediately think of going to your website. However, people do check their social media accounts quite often. So let your volunteers know about any new volunteering opportunities they can participate in through your social media, or through text messaging for those who have provided you with their mobile phone numbers for text communications.
Social media is also a great way to inspire individuals to volunteer. Ask your volunteers if they would be comfortable having their picture taken for your organization's social media accounts. After receiving their permission, take pictures that highlight the variety of duties your volunteers perform throughout your nonprofit. Whether it be helping at an event or writing thank you cards to your donors. You never know what can inspire your next volunteer.
People who enjoy volunteering are eager to learn and gain new experiences and skills. Be mindful of your volunteer’s personal goals by assigning meaningful roles to them. Place your volunteers in roles that will challenge them and help them develop their skills but at the same time not overwhelm them. Make sure to communicate with them via surveys, or in person, to get a better understanding of their current skill set, and what areas they want to gain experience in.
Diversify the tasks you give to volunteers and provide and promote many different volunteer opportunities. This allows them to discover their interests, meet new people, and further explore your organization. Volunteers who feel valued and have rewarding experiences are going to stay loyal to your organization.
A leader is someone who can guide people toward a future goal. A successful leader needs to be empathetic and connect with others. They also need to motivate people and set an example, establish guidelines and clear expectations, so others can easily follow the directions.
Utilize the leaders in your organization and ask them to lead your volunteers in their duties. Having leaders that can set an example for your volunteers is a great way to show volunteers how the organization operates and also gives volunteers the opportunity to build relationships with people who are already established at your nonprofit.
Communication is essential to providing the right message based on the organization's needs. Clear communication is about giving direction or information and then seeing how someone takes that direction and puts it into action.
Engage your volunteers and ask them what they would like to contribute and how they would like to help. Does it seem like they’re enjoying themselves? Or does the task appear too challenging for them? If you’re unsure it never hurts to ask. When volunteers feel heard they’re going to be more receptive to the information and instruction they are given.
Thank your volunteers for their hard work! Volunteers should feel appreciated for donating their time to your organization. Every year there is a Volunteer Appreciation Week, this year it falls on April 17 - 23, 2022. This is a great time to thank your volunteers for their contributions to your organization. Below are a few ideas you can use for your nonprofit.
Write a personal thank you card to your volunteers. This lets your volunteers know you’re thinking of them, and you are showing appreciation for their contributions to your organization. You can also include a small gift with a thank you card. This is a great way to build relationships with your volunteers and make them feel appreciated for their hard work.
Gather your volunteers and hold a luncheon in honor of them. This is a great social event that will boost morale amongst your volunteers. At this luncheon, volunteers can get to know one another and talk about their experience with your organization.
If you have a steady group of individuals who volunteer at your organization, highlight one of these amazing individuals on your social media, send out a newsletter, or post them on your website. Showcase how they’ve helped your nonprofit and the different projects or events they’ve assisted with. Write a short paragraph on how this individual has been a huge part of the success in your organization.
So, there you have it, folks. 7 ways to bring in new volunteers and keep them engaged in 2022. Feel free to also browse through the rest of our blog (how about 12 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Succeed on Social Media) for more.
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