Guest post by Aiden Hijleh, Benchmark Email
One of the biggest challenges a nonprofit faces is keeping your volunteers engaged. It is their involvement that maintains the visibility, funding and activity necessary to see your important objectives accomplished. This article will explain what nonprofit organizations can do to maximize the support you get from your volunteers.
Learn What Makes Them Tick
What drives your volunteers to get involved in your efforts? Is it simply because they want to help, or is it something deeper than that? While most volunteers are genuinely good-hearted people, there are usually specific motives that drive them to get involved.
Maybe your cause is tied to a situation that hits close to home. Or perhaps they are trying to acquire skills that will enable them to land a job or even get their own nonprofit venture off the ground in the future. Whatever it may be, it pays to find out because once you do, you can do what it takes to keep that motivation high.
Communicate on a Two-way Street
One of the easiest ways to get the most from your volunteers is to simply communicate with each individual on a regular basis. Be sure to clearly explain what you need them to do in terms of specific tasks and more importantly, what you expect from their role as it relates to the organization.
With that said, you can’t do all the talking. Communication is at its most effective when it takes place on a two-way street where you maintain an open ear and listen to feedback. The two-way aspect is vital because it benefits both parties. Your volunteers know they can come to you at any time to make suggestions or voice their concerns. The result of this is individuals who are willing to give their all for the betterment of the cause and your organization.
Show Your Appreciation
No matter how genuine the intentions, everyone wants to feel appreciated. Volunteers will be far less likely to support any cause when their efforts are not being recognized. You can show appreciation with a verbal “thank you”, by handing out rewards and incentives, or organizing events exclusively designed to convey that their contributions are the reason for your success. There really is no going wrong with this one.
Ask any nonprofit leader, and they will tell you that their volunteers are the heart and soul of the organization. From passing out printed materials to spreading the word online, they perform the most grueling tasks with excitement and a smile. If you can keep them happy, chances are, you can keep your organization running successfully for a long time to come.
Aidan Hijleh is a freelance copywriter and serves as the Nonprofit Partnership Liaison for Benchmark Email. Aidan advocates free email marketing services to assist with the flourishing of grassroots organizations.
(Photos from A Diva State of Mind and Lafferty Chuck, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)