The best way to ensure the continued success of your fundraising efforts is take care of your what is arguably your most precious asset; your volunteer base. Finding and keeping volunteers can be challenging, but there are some tips to training and retaining your volunteers which can make all the difference to the success of your non-profit organization. Your volunteers are one of your most valuable assets who are not only committed to a specific cause, they are also committed to making a joint mission; yours and theirs as successful as possible. As a leader in a non-profit organization, one of your most important roles is to stand behind your volunteers by giving them purpose, direction and appreciation. Don’t allow the unique talents and enthusiasm of your volunteer base to fall to the wayside because of a lack of training, organization or direction.
Volunteer Management Best Practices & Engagement Strategies
1. Meeting Individual Volunteer’s Wants & Needs. Create a volunteer survey that is designed to highlight their individual strengths and interests. Your volunteers will be the most helpful and effective when they are enjoying the tasks they are being asked to perform. Some of the areas your survey should focus on include:
• Volunteer Skill List: For example, the description of the job that your volunteers perform on a day to day basis, their professional experience in a workplace setting and any interests and hobbies that are performed outside of work hours that could be put to good use in your charity organization.
• Social Performance: Do your volunteers have outgoing personalities suited to interacting with lots of people or do they prefer to work independently behind the scenes and out of the lime light? Engage your social volunteers but placing them in situations where they can interact with people, utilize problem solving skills and assist guests. For volunteers that are less comfortable around people, use their skill sets to your advantage for housekeeping tasks including categorizing donations and seating arrangements for social events.
• Technical Competencies List: Does your volunteer have training in computers and technology? Utilize their strengths in areas that may include setup and registration for your fundraising events. Volunteers that are less than computer savvy can be put to excellent use in event settings organizing displays or seating guests at live auction events.
2. Volunteer Training Manuals. Provide your volunteers with a training program that directly centers on the cause of your organization. Break your training down into short, concise sessions to ensure that you maintain morale and the importance of working in a team environment. As a general rule, keep training sessions between intervals of 30 minutes to an hour with discussions or activities that require volunteer participation. Also consider ongoing training sessions, such as meeting once per week to ensure that your volunteers are retaining the information that they are learning.
3. Volunteer Thank You & Appreciation. Thank your volunteers and remind them how much they are appreciated. Studies in social behavior indicate that human beings have a fundamental need to be recognized. Thank your volunteers for their hard work and dedication and let them know that the success of your organization is achieved when the group comes together to work as one.
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