Your Volunteers Are Not ‘Set It And Forget It’

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“Set it, and forget it!” said infomercial personality Ron Popeil about the Showtime Rotisserie cooker.


Heralded as one of the most iconic infomercial taglines of all time, this tagline influences infomercials to this day. What the tagline should not be describing is the way your nonprofit handles its volunteers.


Giving over 7.9 billion hours of service, worth an estimated $175 billion, volunteers are what makes the nonprofit sector go. Not only is the time they give valuable, but they’re also great donors as well.


According to a recent study conducted by the Lily Family School of Philanthropy, high net worth individuals who volunteered gave as much as 73% than those who did not volunteer. That’s a huge jump, and one that should not be ignored by your nonprofit.


So how do you keep your volunteers volunteering, and subsequently giving more than non-volunteers to your nonprofit? One word:


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Engagement.


The set it and forget method just will not cut it. Your volunteers will know if you’re not giving them your all, or are not appreciative of their work. Cultivating a network of dedicated volunteers takes work and should not be taken lightly. Engaging with your nonprofit, and the feeling of helping to complete its mission is what your volunteers want. Here are a few tips to keep your nonprofit engaged with its volunteers.

  1. Strong and effective leadership starts with your attitude

    Whether at the top of business or running a 3 person nonprofit with a handful of volunteers, people want to feel like their leader is in charge. The adage “never let them see you sweat” never applies more. Your attitude is reflective of the entire organization. If you’re frustrated, the entire organization is frustrated.


    When engaging with your volunteers, make sure you’re acting mannerisms reflect what you want to see out of them. Whether handing out food for the hungry ever Thursday, or spending time one weekend helping get computers up and running, volunteers want to feel like there’s a purpose to what they’re doing.


  2. Communication

    We’re not saying you need to be constantly emailed, text messaged, and talked at while they’re a volunteer for you. But it does mean that your volunteers should be kept in the loop, and never be surprised by anything.


    Make sure you set expectations, and provide volunteers with all the information and tools they might need to be successful. Also, make sure they understand what success looks like. If it is just to have a good time, or to finish constructing playground equipment by 2pm, make sure they know.



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  4. Manage change

    A lack of communication show you’re incapability of managing change, which can lead to volunteers who are frustrated with constant change. Make sure when making inevitable changes at your nonprofit, your volunteers are kept in the loop and are not alienated by a constantly shifting environment.


    If expectations are managed appropriately, and your volunteers are well informed, you’re well on to your way to boosting volunteer engagement.


Topics: donors, VolunteerConnect, Fundraising, General, CRM, donation, nonprofit technology, volunteers, nonprofit

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