6 Ways to Engage Nonprofit Volunteers [Infographic]

Stefanie Pous September 07, 2016, by Stefanie Pous

Nonprofit volunteers are the face of your organization. As visible advocates for your nonprofit, volunteers help grow, maintain, and develop your organization's mission and cause.

Getting volunteers to participate time and time again can be a tricky undertaking. In our hectic, fast-paced world, volunteers often fall victim to the other demands of life and don't find time to give back to the community on a regular basis.

Because of this, it is important to revamp you nonprofit volunteer management plan and keep volunteers engaged and willing to come back.

engage nonprofit volunteers infographic

Fundamentals for happily engaged nonprofit volunteers

Challenge them

  • Nonprofit volunteers crave challenging tasks and experiences. These provide opportunities to take on leadership roles and develop new goals and skills. Failing to provide a sense of challenge and purpose can discourage volunteers from coming back to help your organization. Guarantee that their service is mutually beneficial by offering interesting, appealing, and challenging activities.

Inspire with your cause

  • Your cause is reason behind all of the work you do. Use it to ignite passion in your volunteers as well. Inspire them with the stories of real people they will be helping and real challenges they will be addressing. Stories of those who have been changed by your nonprofit's mission are the most organic, true, and authentic, and will leave your volunteers feeling motivated and engaged.

A simple "thanks"

  • People typically do not volunteer for the sole purpose of public recognition. Instead, volunteers look for meaningful engagement opportunities. As an organization, it is crucial to express the impact your volunteers are making on both your organization and the broader nonprofit community. Emphasize the importance of their contributions - those who keep coming back are the ones who feel their work has significance. Everyone needs a healthy dose of appreciation and recognition. Simple gestures go a long way!

Stay connected

  • With the plethora of social media platforms and "on-the-go" communication, it is easier than ever to keep in touch with your volunteers. Good (and consistent) communication is the key to knowing the motivations and expectations of your volunteers. Make sure to be accessible and listen to their suggestions, feedback, and insights. Show your volunteers that their opinions matter to you.

Build community

  • Establish a space where your volunteers can feel a part of something greater than themselves. Create a sense of community among your volunteers. They should feel connected to each other as well as to the organization. They will enjoy being surrounded by like-minded people and feeling a sense of belonging.

Make it fun

  • With the routine of everyday life, we sometimes forget to just have fun. Create an environment where your volunteers can feel productive and purposeful, but where they're also encouraged to enjoy themselves. This means providing a positive, enthusiastic, and stimulating atmosphere. Volunteering is a personal choice, not a job, so make them feel this way!
Stefanie Pous

Stefanie Pous

Stefanie Pous is the Communications and Partnerships Manager at Elevation, a full-service nonprofit web design agency. Passionate about nonprofits, marketing, and technology, she is excited to be working at their crossroads. Outside of the office, Stefanie can be found doing yoga, cooking, and exploring new cities.

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