Posted: November 21, 2013
A for-profit business with hundreds of paid employees will run differently than a nonprofit business being supported by hundreds of volunteers. As a result, managing the two very different populations of workers is going to present a manager attempting to get the most out of their workers a variety of different challenges.
As opposed to an employee receiving their incentive from a paycheck, motivating a volunteer who is not being monetarily reciprocated for their services can sometimes be a daunting task.
Here are a few tips to help you the next time you’re having trouble getting your volunteers motivated.
Engage a volunteer individually
Do not expect to get loads of volunteers by simply sending out an email to everyone and their families.
When you have a job that needs to get done, approach a specific person you think is uniquely capable of performing the task, and tell them why you chose them. People will show more enthusiasm when approached on a personal level to perform a task, which coincides with something they already have an existing interest in. Keep track of what people are signing up for with your CRM or volunteer management system to help you send more targeted emails about opportunities at your nonprofit.
Be specific when asking for help
Never simply state “Hey! We really need help this weekend!” and expect people to knock down your doors eager to help.
Instead, specifically state what it is you need help with.
“This Friday we need three volunteers to help organize pies for the county fair over the weekend.” This way, the task is specifically spelled out and people will know exactly what they are getting themselves into when volunteering.
If you know what a volunteer has already signed for in the past, based on your volunteer management system, you can easily see who is already interested in performing specific tasks.
Make signing up easy
Getting people involved is the first hurdle every volunteer-based organization must leap. Using a CRM or other database to manage volunteers, allows you to integrate online tools and social media in order to track volunteers’ history, keep contact information up to date, and collect new volunteer data by interfacing with your website’s sign up forms.
If your nonprofit is still using a simple online or paper signup sheet, your organization is not reaching its full potential volunteer base. Many volunteers are actively searching for opportunities by engaging with nonprofits via social media and websites, make your opportunities available on all mediums.
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