It is National Volunteer Week, Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteers’ efforts, and we want to commemorate it by sharing with you tips on how to best work with volunteers.
Many NFPs and charities are built relying on the help of volunteers that offer their time to help make a better world. Knowing how to find them, train them, and keep them motivated is a game changer.
We recommend these guidelines for an improved volunteer experience.
1. Have a clear volunteer program
The best way to achieve your goals is to have them properly defined. The same happens when working with volunteers, having a clear understanding on what will be their support and where their efforts will be used, will lead to a much better synergic relationship.
One important aspect is to understand which “department” will they be assigned, as you may need specific skills for certain areas. By knowing which skills are required you will be able to establish a clear volunteer search.
It is also important to define the duration of the volunteer program. It can be long term, short term, or undefined for as long as the person wants to volunteer. Let your potential volunteers know what is expected of them, and for how long, this will help you find the right candidates.
2. Have a space dedicated exclusively to volunteers.
If someone is looking to volunteer, having a specific page is good for SEO purposes, as it will help your website to rank better and they will find you more easily. But also, by having a space that clearly explains how they can volunteer with you, it will make them more likely to contact you and start the process.
Give them the option to choose from your different volunteer programs if more than one. Show them examples of previous volunteer experiences and showcase it with pictures and videos.
Volunteers thrive on helping others and having a nourishing experience, make sure this comes across in your Volunteer’s dedicated web page section, and they will be engaged and ready to help.
3. Engage with them since the very beginning
Sometimes it will be easy to get your volunteers on board right away. However, other times the process takes time, and while they officially become part of your team, you may have disengaged with them.
There are different ways you can keep your volunteers engaged since the very beginning:
- Have a volunteer login page: Have a volunteer exclusive page where they can find more information that is exclusive to the organisation. This will make them feel part of your nonprofit right away, and it will keep them engaged while they look about what you have done
- Have a forum: Give them a space where they can ask questions, get in touch with present or former volunteers and find out more about the activities they will be involved in.
- Set up a learning program: Tools like Learndash allow you to create interactive online learning programs that your volunteers can complete over time. This will help you to make sure the volunteers that work with you are on the same page, and it will keep them engaged while setting them for success.
4. Help them succeed and feel satisfied
Volunteers are in the hunt of a rewarding experience that positively impacts the community and makes people’s lives better. Help them have a satisfying experience.
It is important that you look after them, treat them as an important part of your organization. They want to work and collaborate. By giving them tasks that are challenging and trusting in them their confidence and their feeling of satisfaction will increase.
It is important to provide support to your volunteers and be there to help them when they need you, so they don’t feel stuck. But just as important is for them to feel they are trusted. Delegate in them, trust them with the task in hand, and do not underestimate them.
5. Thank them well
While organising a special session is a great way to make them feel a valuable part of your team, make sure you are showing your support and appreciation as a constant in their everyday volunteering life. Support them and give them opportunities to grow. Listen to their opinions and give them the option to contribute.
It is easy to forget how valuable volunteer’s work is. To all Volunteers in Australia, thank you for your amazing community work!