Finding volunteer that will find the time to put in the work is hard, especially given the demands of our busy lives. However, it is possible to retain productive volunteers. Below are a few tips on how to go about it:
Treating Volunteers As Employees
The team assigned to oversee volunteers must be mindful of the risks associated with not viewing volunteers as employees or as such.
Provide a Great Experience
Helping and managing shop volunteers in their respective tasks is one of the most effective ways of encouraging them to work. It is a way of ensuring they have the best and memorable volunteer experience. No project is too small or menial. Make it feel like fun for the volunteers, and it will be a great experience.
A great volunteer experience is not so much about the job but mostly revolves around the various factors within your control.
Make A Good First Impression
If you are spending enough resources and time recruiting volunteers who never return, it could point to the fact that you should rethink your approach. Make a resounding first impression, this will bode well. Nailing it when it counts is essential. It is a significant factor in bagging new volunteers that are likely to come back if they are receptive to what they find when they first arrive.
Training courses for new volunteers is essential. Some of the training should include in-depth, one-on-one, hands-on lessons, lasting several hours. However, also consider some short but comprehensive introductions. Overall, ensure that each new volunteer gets:
• A hearty welcome
• Background information about the organisation
• A task description, detailing how their time and input is a valued cause
• A tour of the place for familiarization of where they will be working
• Introduction to the staff they will interact and worth with
• A brochure that sums it all if they need a reminder
Always Be A Positive Representative
Gone out of your way to assist someone who fails to acknowledge you is disheartening, and it is worse when they do but only to make demands on what to do and how. Such treatment is not an uncommon thing when volunteering. It is wise to remember the roles that volunteer play in your non-profit organisation. They are bound to feel devalued and unappreciated when they receive such treatment.
You and the staff should strive to offer the best “customer service: to a volunteer upon arrival. Show a genuine smile as you greet them and thank them for offering their help. It is the right way to approach them, even when you have a lot on your plate for the day.
It will be a matter of being a positive representative for your organisation, which boils down to keeping your character in check. To achieve this, ask yourself the following:
Does your demeanour exude excitement, passion, and positivity when interacting with volunteers?
Are you sympathetic to the volunteers’ complaints and concerns?
Do you view volunteers are valued individuals and genuinely care about them?
Are you attentive to what volunteers say when you talk with them, or does your mind go elsewhere?
If you view every new volunteer as another number, a fresh set of hand, or a solution to fill a gap, then take a step back and review your stand. Make some prudent changes that will help you bring some value to your organisation’s relationship with the volunteer. Consider doing the following:
• Strike up a conversation
• Listen intently
• Get to know each volunteer at a personal level
Remember, every business thrives on having solid, gainful relationships. Let the volunteer know you care and value them, and this will see them care about your cause or mission.
Lastly, always be appreciative and let it be evident and genuine. A heartfelt “Thank You” to suggest their time and input made a difference can be a delightful surprise that can make a volunteer feel valued and respected.