Volunteers are the lifeblood of many organizations, therefore it is important to keep them engaged in their work. To keep a volunteer engaged, it is vital to provide ample recognition, rewards, and opportunities to volunteers.
Recognize volunteers publicly and privately.
Whether you are working with one volunteer, ten, or a few hundred, it’s important to recognize their efforts. There are many ways to recognize volunteers, from giving them a hand written thank you note, or one of many other ways to say thank you. Getting to know your volunteers will help you to know how they would best like to be thanked for their work.
Reward volunteers with creative gifts and gestures.
Gifts for volunteers don’t have to be big and they don’t have to be expensive. The best gifts for recognizing volunteers are things that will be useful to them.
Give volunteers opportunity to grow.
It is important to check in with volunteers on a regular basis to make sure they are still interested in their tasks or want to change their responsibilities. Many volunteers want to learn and grow by doing new tasks over time. Make time to meet with volunteers once or twice a year or quarterly to catch up on both personal and volunteer related topics.
If you think a volunteer would work really well in a paid position that’s open, ask them to apply for it. Even if they can’t take it, it lets the volunteer know that you and your organization appreciate their work.
Provide food at volunteer functions.
Providing something to eat, in addition to a well planned event, is a key way to draw volunteers to events. Rather than offer the same cookies and punch at each event, keep it interesting with theme related snacks. Don’t forget to check if your volunteers have any dietary restrictions so everyone can enjoy the food!
Give volunteers a break.
It’s important not to tax volunteers by overloading them with difficult or strenuous tasks that they didn’t initially agree to do. At the same time, try to realize that volunteers’ might not want to do the same task for the entire time they’re working with your organization.
Check in with your volunteers to make sure they’re happy with what they’re doing, and let them try something new or take some time off if they want to.
Say thank you.
At the end of the day, most volunteers just want to know their work is appreciated and they’ve done well. Strive to say a genuine “thank you” to volunteers whenever you get a chance.