Easy Ways to Keep Your Volunteers

volunteer, screening, background checkOnce you recruit and screen volunteers for your organization, it’s important to hold on to them. A steady volunteer staff helps the organization run more smoothly, saves time and resources, and helps promote your cause in the community.

Here are five ways to keep good volunteers:

  1. Put out the welcome mat. Welcome your volunteers and demonstrate that you’re glad they’re there, whether it’s their first day or their 101st day. Taking volunteers for granted is too easy to do. Trouble is, it’s no secret. They can feel it—and it’s a sure way to demoralize them.
  2. Include volunteers in the mission. Help them feel like they are part of the greater good. Explain their role and how it helps to serve your clients or cause.
  3. Show appreciation. Say “thank you” at every opportunity. And do a little more when possible. Throw a party, bring in cupcakes or send notes and cards. Everyone wants to be appreciated—especially when they’re giving of themselves and their time.
  4. Speaking of time, respect it. Volunteers often worry that the spare hour of time they can give is not enough. Or, that if they offer an hour, you’ll take two. Find ways to make things work for time-strapped volunteers. Do you have tasks that can be completed in one-, two- or three-hour segments? Let people know, and then don’t let them exceed the given time. Send them home with a smile.
  5. Be open to suggestions. You don’t have to let a volunteer tell you how to run your organization. However, many have rich work experience that could improve your processes and procedures. At least give volunteers the respect of listening to their suggestions.

It’s not easy to see a good volunteer leave, but don’t encourage it by failing to do the simple things that can really work to keep them happy!

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