Guest post by Kelly Smith
As a nonprofit leader, you’re probably aware that volunteers are the heart and soul of your organization – it’s their smiles and hard work that move your cause forward. That’s why volunteer motivation is essential. Here are four smart ways to motivate volunteers:
1. Know Their Reasons For Volunteering.
In order to keep your volunteers engaged and motivated, you need to first understand the reasons behind their decision to volunteer. Whether they do it to acquire new skills or make a difference, you’re the one that needs to gather this information and apply it, creating a volunteer program that fosters long-term commitment.
Good communication is key to managing expectations and responsibilities, but in order for it to really work you need to be able to listen, as well. Encourage suggestions and feedback! Show volunteers that their opinions matter – what you’ll get in return will be people wanting to do their best to improve your organization.
3. Show Your Appreciation.
Volunteers want to know that their work matters and makes a difference. If their efforts are not being recognized, they’re more likely to not feel actualized. Never underestimate the power of a handwritten 'thank you' note. Volunteers can have their work recognized externally as well. Use social media to your advantage with an appreciation post.
4. Show Them How They Made A Difference.
There’s no better method of keeping up the motivation of your volunteers than by letting them see the results of their hard work. Seeing a child who after months of tutoring is finally able to read a whole book out loud is a sight no volunteer will ever forget.
So don’t hesitate! Start working on your motivation strategies right now – every investment in your volunteers pays back with an immeasurable passion and willingness to work for an important cause.
Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder, an Australian online education resource. She also provides career advice for students and job seekers.