Empower Volunteers for More Productivity

volunteer screening volunteer credit checkMost volunteer coordinators say that volunteers are their most valuable assets. Nurturing and looking after assets is important to keep them from slipping away. So how do you take care of volunteers? Are they slipping away, despite your best efforts?

Taking care of your volunteers can pay off in higher rates of productivity and retention. One trick is to channeling their creativity, talent and experience—and that takes real leadership. So does realizing that your volunteers might be smarter than you. Most non-profit organizations have volunteers from all sorts of backgrounds, like retired business executives, teachers, accountants, lawyers—people with top-level talent and plenty of brainpower.

  1. When you see real talent and valuable experience in your volunteers, give them the freedom to do what they do best, and don’t micromanage. Get out of their way and you might be amazed at the ideas they come up with.
  2. If the organization is facing a problem, ask for help or advice from your experienced volunteers. There is no rule saying that you must follow it, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Whether or not a volunteer’s advice meet your needs, giving people the freedom to contribute to the organization does wonders for their self-worth, gives them a reason to keep volunteering and can result in solid new ideas for problem-solving.
  3. Consider asking for ideas from a number of volunteers, or putting together a brainstorming session to address a problem. You may soon have a number of “what if” scenarios around the table. One of them could be the solution you decide to go for. Collective problem solving can be a great way to harness and leverage the talent of your volunteers, while making them feel valued and productive.

Leadership means educating volunteers about why their roles are important. But it also means matching them with jobs that matter to them personally. Taking care of volunteers by involving them in tasks that use their talents, creativity and intelligence is a great way to keep them engaged and make your organization more successful.

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