How to Find – and Keep – Great Volunteers

Guest post by Manuel Eriksen

Tips for finding and keeping great volunteers for your organization

Almost all nonprofits need volunteers, and for many reasons. The right volunteer can encourage and inspire others to join the cause and contribute their time and talents. Volunteers help a nonprofit thrive, and finding and keeping them takes dedication and hard work.

Finding Volunteers

Many people want to volunteer but don’t have the time to do so. The key is finding the people who are willing, and most importantly, able to commit their time and service to the organization. To find the best volunteers, you have to know where to look.

Of course, VolunteerMatch is a quick, easy and free way to reach many volunteers that fit your organization’s needs. Posting a volunteer opportunity takes about 5 minutes, and will be recommended to volunteers who match with the skills and cause areas you indicate.

With pastors and other community leaders such as Ed Young reminding people not to wait to be asked to volunteer, more people are looking to social networks as another good way to find volunteer opportunities. Use social media and bulletin boards to let people know about your organization and what it does. Encourage them to volunteer in whatever capacity they can offer.

Well-known organizations often have a volunteer drive once a year to actively campaign for future supporters. This eliminates the need to continually seek help, but it limits your ability to control who follows through with the commitment.

Keeping Volunteers

Once a person has shown an interest in volunteering, the key is to keep them active. Six ways to keep great volunteers working and coming back year after year are:

  1. Be mindful of their time. They may only be able to work a few hours at a time due to family or work commitments.
  2. Don’t expect more than they can offer. People have limitations, both financially and physically. If they know they can’t do a specific job, respect their limits and allow them to perform tasks they are comfortable with.
  3. Show appreciation. Make sure everyone who volunteers knows how much you appreciate their service. They choose to be there.
  4. Show them their work has purpose. Show them why they are needed.
  5. Introduce volunteers to the leaders of the organization. This allows the leaders to meet those who support their cause and allows the volunteers to meet those responsible for what they are doing.
  6. Showcase their talents. If you have a volunteer who continually goes above and beyond what is expected, recognize his or her commitment within the organization and publicly.

Volunteers are often the life force of an organization. Finding and keeping good volunteers will help keep your organization productive and benefiting those who rely on it.

Manuel Eriksen is a business writer who specializes in marketing and public relations. He loves to volunteer in his spare time and enjoys looking for new ways to actively engage in the community.

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