Volunteer acquisition takes up the majority of the non-profits resources; however, retaining volunteers is a big challenge for non-profits. How can non-profits ensure that volunteers return to help out again?
1. Make it an experience, not just a task
A non-profit is like a restaurant; it isn’t just about the food it serves but also about the customer experience it provides. How the customers are escorted, the process of checking in, in fact, the entire exotic experience delivered by restaurants and hotels are one of the main reasons they acquire customers and also retain them. A non-profit should also focus on a better onboarding experience. Making sure that every volunteer receives a warm welcome and a description of how their time helps your cause makes a good first impression among your volunteers. This builds better relationships with your volunteers. Don’t forget to follow up with frequent messages of gratitude. It enhances volunteer interaction and creates a better experience which will not just help in retention but also in the acquisition.
2. Make it easy for them to help themselves
Personalizing your engagements with the volunteers makes a huge difference. Smart non-profits realize volunteers like shoppers explore many a cause and acts and discover their true self. Choose technology for them to register for any activity, view task completion and the community. Sharing info about others and other projects often help them to realize their interests and communities of choice. Volunteer management applications such as SociallyGood , can integrate social media channels, register to volunteer in any NGO of their preference based on their location and also see beneficiary’s feedback.
3. Empower and arm them rightly
Aligning tasks with volunteers’ skill and their interest is the first step in life cycle engagement. According to a 2009 survey by the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, 44% of respondents said they would rather volunteer elsewhere than stay with an organization that doesn’t use their skills. Non-profits that have well defined SOPs find it easy to empower volunteers to own and drive activities. A sense of ownership is essential for increased participation and continued association. Encourage volunteers to team up with each other so that there can be overall learning.
4. Incentives and Recognition of volunteers
Recognition of volunteers’ work regularly earns many plus points in volunteer engagement and retention. It shows them that you appreciate their work and their time in your non-profit. It makes the volunteers feel valued in your organization. Often it is non-monetary rewards they are looking for. A 3 start badge goes a long way in boosting their ego and deepening the associations. Smart non-profits design layered recognition systems that share success stories of volunteers on social media and other channels. This boosts your non-profit’s credibility and also attracts more volunteers to support your cause.
Effective volunteer management and retention is a challenge for many non-profits but with these strategies, you can ensure that you have motivated and hardworking volunteers.