Nonprofit volunteers are the face of your organization. They are an extremely valuable asset to your nonprofit in providing an extra set of hands—both with administrative/ office tasks as well as with activities that may not get done otherwise. Additionally, they act as a resource in building the organization's strength and mission. As visible advocates for your nonprofit association, your volunteers help grow, maintain, and enhance your nonprofit's programs and cause.
In the busy, face-paced world we live in, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. Going to the gym, meeting up with friends, or catching up on your favorite Netflix series can often postpone giving back to the community. Even the most loyal volunteers occasionally have trouble finding the inspiration and motivation needed to lend a helping hand. Here are 3 simple ways to keep your nonprofit volunteers motivated:
1. Provide Structure
Communication is always key. You've hopefully developed a concise and clear set of policies and instructions to maintain order at your organization. In the case of a having a constant flow of volunteers, this should be especially true. Keep communication and instruction regarding your organization's policies and regulations efficient to make sure your volunteers feel as though their time is not being wasted and they are appreciated and useful.
Additionally, it is important to set measurable, diverse, and challenging goals for your volunteers. This will help them stay on track, be productive, and ultimately feel a sense of accomplishment. Just make sure you and your team are following up and offering guidance and/or assistance to ensure volunteers success.
Although the word structure implies otherwise, it is always a good idea to leave some room for flexibility (within limits of course). Occasionally life events happen and we have to accommodate accordingly. By working with your volunteers, they will feel as though their time and contributions to your organization are valued.
2. Say Thanks
Everyone likes to be thanked, there is no denying that! Which is why social recognition can be a huge factor in motivating your nonprofit volunteers. As social recognition suggests, when publicly praised, volunteers feel encouraged, inspired, and most likely will continue their volunteer work with your nonprofit.
There are many ways your nonprofit can go about doing this—social media, newsletters, emails, banquet awards, thank you cards, etc. All of these forms of social recognition can be highly effective, especially in terms of getting their friends, relatives, and fellow community members involved. Do keep in mind, however, not everyone enjoys being publicly recognized. Make sure you thank/ recognize your volunteers in the way that is meaningful to them.
Fun fact: Volunteers give twice as often to charity as non-volunteers.
3. Have Fun
Although it sounds quite obvious, with all the distractions of everyday life we sometimes forget the basics: to have fun. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like having fun?
Fun is a great motivator. Create an environment where not only your volunteers feel comfortable, but where having fun is encouraged. Having fun doesn’t mean being careless, irresponsible, or unfocused. Instead having fun means being positive, enthusiastic, and curious about whatever task/ activity your volunteers may be participating in. Even if the work itself is not the most entertaining, create a space volunteers want to spend time in. Volunteering is a personal choice, not a job, so make them feel this way! A motivated and engaged volunteer group can make a tremendous difference in your organization’s impact on the community.