Effective Strategies For Retaining Volunteers

Treat volunteers like employees

It is important for managers of volunteers to be aware of the risks involved when volunteers are viewed as employees. ‘Volunteer training Surrey‘ should be many things and one is inviting and encouraging with support.

Offer a Great Experience

One of the best ways to encourage volunteers to continue helping out, over and over, is to provide them with the best possible volunteer experience.

You might be thinking, “but I need help with menial, small tasks that are not fun in any way. It is impossible for me to make a great experience for volunteers.” That is the wrong attitude to have.

Providing a great volunteer experience is more about the factors you can control and less about the actual tasks.

Make a Great First Impression

If you are spending a lot of resources and time on recruiting volunteers who never return, you are probably blowing your first impression. Either that or you are not making any impression at all! These days it might sound like a cliché to say you need to nail the first impression, but it is critical for new volunteers who may feel apprehensive about what they can expect after they first get there.

Training or onboarding sessions for your new volunteers is an absolute must! Certain training sessions involved hands-on, in-depth training that lasts for several hours. However, even short introductions can be effective. As a general rule, be sure that each new volunteer gets at least the following:

  • A warm welcome
  • Background information on your non-profit
  • A description of the task and how their time helps your organisation
  • A tour of the grounds or facility where they are going to work
  • A handout summing everything up just in case they forget something
  • Introduce them to staff members they can get help from

Be a Positive Representative at All Times

Have you ever made the effort to help somebody who did not acknowledge you? Then once they did finally, it was just to tell you what you should do? Sadly, that happens all too often to volunteers. Volunteers who are treated this way are likely to feel unappreciated, devalued, and awkward.

Whenever you get a new volunteer, you and your entire staff should immediately switch into your customer service mode. Even when you are really busy, at least genuinely smile at the volunteer and thank them for helping out or tell them how great it is to see them.

To be a positive representative is all about checking your personal character. Ask yourself the following questions:

Whenever you are interacting with volunteers, do you exude passion, excitement, and positivity?

Are you respectful and patient whenever complaints or concerns are voiced by volunteers?

Is your mind in a different place or are you in the moment whenever you are speaking with volunteers?

Do you truly care about your volunteers as people?

Get Personal

If your volunteers are viewed as simply a number or a set of hands that make your life a little easier it is time for you to make some changes and take a step back. The following are three things you can do quickly to add value to the relationships you have with your volunteers.

Get to know them

Listen to them

Begin a Conversation With Them!

Relationships are critical. Make sure to tell your volunteers that you care about them. If you do this, they will start caring about your mission.

Show Appreciation

This is so important! At times it is just a heartfelt, simple, “thank you.” However, you might be surprised at how often volunteers feel like they didn’t make a difference, or they were unappreciated.