Values and vision guide the action of individuals, teams, and organizations. At the heart of it all, lies the mission, or purpose. It’s what attracts volunteers and supports and drives all initiatives.
Keeping volunteers connected to the fundamental purpose of your organization is key to keeping volunteers involved . Organizations that “keep their eye on the prize” tend to be better at involving volunteers, in more meaningful, mission-focused roles.
Talk. Think. Do!
Talk more about the importance of the work and less about the crunch time to accomplish the work. Think about the perspective of volunteers and what it is about the “cause” that attracts them. Then, do! Work to align the mission and resources to make sure the mission does not get lost along the way.
Beware of distractions.
The mission may seem obvious, but sometimes staying focused on it isn’t always so cut and dry. Whatever the distractions: finances, competition from others, or status in the community, they are sure to come. It’s important to ensure volunteers aren’t pulled in to the short-term hustle and bustle than on activities that can produce meaningful results to meet real community need.
How we talk about our volunteers is critically important.
Connect volunteers to the purpose of the mission. Openly discussing volunteer roles can’t hurt, only help. Leaders should not only talk openly about the value of volunteer contributions, but also make sure this is backed up by action.
“This organization was founded by volunteers and volunteers still make the policy and guide the work.”
Share this view in the organization through public documents, and informal conversations.
Try out the team approach! When tasks are spread out among many units of the organization, individuals have the opportunity to grow as leaders. Evaluating the best qualities represented in the team begins with knowing your strengths. Thinking more broadly about potential contributions of volunteers can ensure the organization’s mission is upheld and the best people are in place to tutor a child, intervene in a family crisis, or manage a surplus food program.
How do you keep volunteers connected to your organization’s mission? Let us know in the comments!