Article by Linked In
- Recognize and appreciate your volunteers
One of the most important factors that influence volunteer retention is recognition and appreciation. Volunteers want to feel valued, respected, and acknowledged for their contributions. Therefore, you should make sure to express your gratitude and praise your volunteers regularly, both individually and collectively. You can use different methods of recognition, such as thank-you cards, certificates, awards, newsletters, social media shout-outs, or events. The key is to be genuine, specific, and timely with your feedback and appreciation.
- Provide training and development opportunities
Another way to retain your volunteers is to provide them with training and development opportunities that can enhance their skills, knowledge, and confidence. Volunteers want to learn new things, grow professionally and personally, and apply their talents to meaningful causes. Therefore, you should offer them various learning resources, such as workshops, webinars, courses, mentoring, or coaching. You should also encourage them to share their expertise and insights with other volunteers and staff, creating a culture of mutual learning and support.
- Communicate clearly and frequently
Communication is essential for volunteer retention, as it helps to establish trust, rapport, and alignment between you and your volunteers. Volunteers want to be informed, involved, and consulted about the goals, plans, and activities of your organization. Therefore, you should communicate with them clearly and frequently, using different channels, such as email, phone, text, or video calls. You should also solicit their feedback and suggestions, and address any questions or concerns they may have. The key is to be transparent, responsive, and respectful with your communication.
- Match volunteers with suitable roles and tasks
One of the reasons why volunteers may lose interest or satisfaction is because they are assigned to roles or tasks that do not match their skills, interests, or expectations. Volunteers want to feel challenged, fulfilled, and useful in their roles. Therefore, you should match them with suitable roles and tasks that align with their strengths, passions, and goals. You should also provide them with clear expectations, guidelines, and support for their roles and tasks. The key is to be flexible, attentive, and creative with your volunteer matching.
- Create a sense of community and belonging
Another factor that affects volunteer retention is the sense of community and belonging that volunteers experience in your organization. Volunteers want to feel connected, valued, and appreciated by their peers and leaders. Therefore, you should create a sense of community and belonging among your volunteers, by fostering a positive and inclusive work environment. You can use different strategies, such as team-building activities, social events, online forums, or newsletters. The key is to be friendly, supportive, and collaborative with your volunteer community.
- Show the impact of your volunteers’ work
Finally, one of the most powerful ways to retain your volunteers is to show them the impact of their work on your organization’s mission, vision, and values. Volunteers want to see the results, outcomes, and benefits of their efforts, and how they make a difference in the lives of others. Therefore, you should show them the impact of their work, by sharing stories, testimonials, data, or reports. You should also celebrate their achievements, milestones, and successes. The key is to be inspiring, motivating, and proud of your volunteer impact.