Great volunteers are the true key to any successful nonprofit. Here are some great tips for retaining great volunteers:
TIME- Make sure you start and end projects, meetings, etc…on time. Volunteers are busy people too. Be respectful of the time they give you and they will give you more of their time.
EDUCATE- Make sure you take time to educate your volunteers on the organization and how to do the job you have asked them to do. Make fact sheets with details the volunteers need to be successful at the specific job. Spend time with your volunteer going over those details. Having the task in writing and presented verbally will make for better, longer retention of the task and for a happier volunteer.
APPRECIATE- This is easy to say and often left undone. Thank volunteers in person, in public, and in hand-written thank you notes. I always say, “You never hear anyone complain about being too appreciated.”
MENTOR- The definition of a mentor is a person that advises and trains. Your volunteers are your greatest asset. Invest your time in volunteer mentoring. Spend time understanding why they are volunteering, what they want to get out of it, and how to make him/her stronger.
Survey- Ask your volunteers how you can better your organization and how you can better your volunteer program at least annually. Unless they say you have a great program, you don’t have a great program. Take their advice and show them that you are listening.
Take-away: Keeping, building, and developing good volunteers is actually simple. Simply build some great “teams.”