Volunteers are the glue that keep many non profits organized and running smoothly. Yet with so many competing opportunities, many charitable organizations struggle to keep or maintain their volunteers. In 2015, 62.6 million volunteers contributed to 7.9 billion hours of service in the United States.
Your number one source for new volunteers is through your existing volunteer base. Turn your existing volunteers into cheerleaders and advocates for your mission. Through their enthusiasm, others will want to be a part of your organization.
Here are some simple ideas to keep your volunteer base strong and vibrant.
1. Make your volunteers feel they are truly a part of your organization.
You want your volunteers to feel they are part of your organization, so equip your volunteers with branded t-shirts and other branded merchandise. Not only will your brand be visible as they do their volunteer work, they will feel more connected to your cause. As they volunteer, they will be a walking billboard for your organization. Naturally, they will talk to others as they go about their volunteer work, and this is an opportunity for them to share more info on your mission and welcome others to join your cause.
2. Provide incentives for your existing volunteer base to bring a friend(s).
Make it fun and worthwhile, and engage your existing volunteers to help you grow. Structure incentives to reflect your goals for growth. Some ideas include:
- Gift cards
- Branded merchandise
3. Show appreciation to your volunteers.
Volunteers typically put in many long hours and make a big difference in the success your organization. Be sure to thank them. Reward them for their loyalty. Per the Independent Sector, the value of a volunteer’s time is $23.56 per hour. With the many hours volunteers provide, it is important to show you value their time. Additionally, volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to a charity than non-volunteers. Your organization will continue to thrive and grow, if you take time to recognize your volunteers.
- Plan annual or semi-annual recognition events
- Write thank you notes after an event
- Provide special prizes or awards for volunteers that go above and beyond
We provided a few ideas on how to grow your volunteer base, however, the best ideas will come from your existing volunteers. Spend time and get to know your volunteers. Talk to them about their ideas for growth. As you make them feel part of your organization, their enthusiasm will be the fuel to help grow your mission. #FuelYourCause
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