What makes people volunteer? This question often runs across the minds of nonprofit organizations when trying to recruit volunteers for service projects. It is important to understand these motivating factors to recruit more dedicated volunteers to your cause. When individuals have a strong tie to your organization, they are more likely to return for service again. They feel that their needs and feelings are being respected when they are included in project planning.
How can you better serve your volunteers? Check the top six factors that make individuals volunteer for your organization.
- Social: Individuals are often motivated by social factors when choosing whether or not they should volunteer. Social factors include statements such as “My friends volunteer” or “People I know share an interest in community service.” These individuals tend to choose organizations they have heard about through word of mouth. Word of mouth is one of your best recruitment strategies. Provide great service experiences so that volunteers want to talk about it and get their friends involved in your cause.
- Value: Other individuals are motivated by their core values when choosing their ideal service projects. Value reasons include, “I am concerned about those less fortunate than myself” or “I feel it is important to help others.” It is important to reinforce your organization’s core values in its recruitment message to attract this type of volunteer.
- Career: Volunteers can also be motivated by their career paths and goals. Volunteer work is a great way for people who are looking to expand their professional network to find new connections. It is also a great outlet to gain new skills or utilize skills they may not have used otherwise. This type of reasoning includes “I can make new contacts that might help my business or career “or “Volunteer work will look good on my resume.” It is important for your organization to include the personal benefits to volunteering, as well as the overall community benefits from volunteer work.
- Understanding: Volunteering to gain a better understanding of the community and its needs is essential some individuals. These individuals may ask your organization “What can I learn more about the cause for which I am working?” Volunteering allows individuals to gain a new perspective and understanding of their community and its members. It opens new doors for new information that can be used to better serve the community.
- Protective: Volunteer work is a great stress reliever. It makes us feel better about ourselves and our current situation when we actively help our community. These factors should be highlighted, when recruiting volunteers, as well. This reasoning includes “Volunteering is a good escape from my troubles” or “By volunteering I feel less lonely.” Volunteering forces you to step out of your comfort zone and find new meaning and perspective.
- Esteem: When we help others through volunteering it makes us feel that we serve a purpose and we are an important part of the community. Highlight this aspect in your recruitment message. Let your volunteers know that they are making a huge difference in the overall health of the community in which they are serving. If possible, cite results from the actual project to let volunteers know the magnitude of their service.
Which one of these factors applies to you? We would love to hear your comments and suggestions in the section below!