Without volunteers, nonprofits wouldn’t be able to do most of the things that they set out to do. From 2003 to 2005, almost a third of Americans were actively volunteering, according to the National Council of Nonprofits. Today, there are far less.
However, people still love to give their time to causes they feel passionately about, and charities are always going to need a little bit of assistance. Everyone volunteers, regardless of age. So there’s no catering to a certain group.
Then how can you ensure your volunteers are happy and engaged, and ready to come back time and time again? Volunteering has changed with the times, meaning there are new ways to draw in and hold crowds that will be open to volunteering their time as well.
While people love the act of giving back to others, they also love feeling like they hold an even deeper purpose within the nonprofit. Here are some key ways to drive up happiness and engagement within your volunteer team.
1. Express Your Gratitude
The simplest way to get your volunteers to stay is by expressing your appreciation to them time and time again. Saying thank you goes a long way, according to Top Nonprofits. And if you ever have the means to reward your volunteers, feel free to do so. By getting to know your volunteers over the years, you can often find specific perks to ask them. Some volunteers are looking for the value of networking while they volunteer. If you have the ability to spread your connections to your volunteers, they’ll thank you for it later.
2. Engage Volunteers Through Your Personal Cause
Those that have a personal connection to your nonprofit will feel more like they are a part of your cause if you continue to engage them. By inspiring your volunteers, it brings good vibes back to your nonprofit. This means that you’ll retain volunteers and even possibly gain some more because of your empathy. By making your cause universal, you’ll better serve your volunteers and set up your nonprofit for success in the future.
3. Create a Community
By bringing your volunteers together through the establishment of a community, you can help ensure that your nonprofit never runs short of volunteers. It’s also a great way to maintain a low commercial insurance premium. By building and maintaining open channels that allow feedback from volunteers, you’re giving back to your volunteers. When volunteers go above and beyond, always make note of it so everyone knows. A constant stream of gratitude is the best way to keep people engaged in your nonprofit. Honor your volunteers in every way that you possibly can. Without them, your nonprofit would be rendered useless.
4. Give Volunteers More Responsibility (When They’ve Worked For It)
People love moving on up in the chain of command at their job. The same sentiment goes towards nonprofits. Cultivating volunteers for bigger roles is the best way to train future leaders. These are people who will be able to take control of your organization when you may not be able to. And when you invest in your volunteers, they will give back to you. Not only will quality volunteers stick around, but they will also bring in more well-rounded volunteers.
5. Make Them Feel Secure
People value a sense of security and stability in their jobs, and nonprofit volunteers are no different. If your volunteers feel safe on the job and feel as though your nonprofit cares about them and their wellbeing, they will have a higher level of satisfaction and be more likely to return in the future. Part of this is improving physical safety: make sure that your premises are secure and all potential safety issues are minimized. This can also be achieved by protecting your volunteers with a commercial insurance program. Knowing that they are covered by your insurance will help them to feel like valued members of the team. If you are concerned about the cost or the coverage gaps, look for a commercial insurance program specifically geared toward covering nonprofits.
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