4 Ways Thinking Like A Marketer Will Help Volunteer Retention

Image Courtesy of Blues By Starlight
Image Courtesy of Blues By Starlight

Despite the efforts of social media networks like LinkedIn, many nonprofits still struggle engaging, gaining, and retaining volunteers. The good news is, a simple change in frame of mind when thinking about your volunteers could be all it takes to greatly improve retention and engagement.

Starting to think more like a marketing manager, instead of a volunteer manager, might be just what your nonprofit needs. adopting this mindset, however, is often times more difficult than most imagine. Additionally, understanding what benefits will come as a result of this change in thought process is sometimes difficult to comprehend as well.

Here are 4 ways your nonprofit will benefit from changing the way they think about how volunteers are engaged.

Better organization

Organization of people and resources is a recipe for success regardless of the business. So why is it often times ignored when dealing with volunteer management?

Conduct a quick audit of all your volunteers, and what resources you use to manage them, to find out if they’re all on the same page. Find out if all your volunteers are up to date on your nonprofit’s processes, language, best practices, and policies. The better your volunteers understand your nonprofit’s, and its mission, the better they will do at projecting that sentiment onto those outside of the organization. Additionally, make sure everyone in direct contact with them, and any software you use to manage volunteers is up to date and running efficiently

Deeper understanding of Volunteers

Understanding who your target audience is, what makes them tick, and why they would benefit from a good product or service is a basic marketing principle that can be employed by all. That information about volunteers, though slightly varied, is equally as important. Understanding why your volunteers are spending their time helping your nonprofit is key to keeping them coming back, and recruiting even more volunteers in the future.

Try taking these three measures to better understand your volunteers:

  1. Communicate openly: Sit down with your volunteers and get to know them better. Understand why they’re there, what keeps them coming back, where they first heard about the volunteer opportunity, etc.
  2. Encourage feedback: Get as much feedback from your volunteers as possible. Whether positive, or negative, it is all important and can grant your nonprofit further insight into how you can improve your volunteer experience.
  3. Track and monitor trends: From your interviews with volunteers, is there any reoccurring themes? Anything that the majority of volunteers like? Dislike? Whatever the case is, document and act accordingly.

Create a better volunteer environment

Spending more time with your volunteers will grant you invaluable insight into why they volunteer, and why they spend their time helping your nonprofit specifically. However, what you do with that information is what’s important.

Corral a team and brainstorm the best ways to improve your volunteers’ working environment. You’re expecting them to dedicate their time for nothing in return, providing to them the best possible environment for them to complete their job function is the least you can do.

Better volunteer retention

Whether trying to retain donors, customers, or volunteers similar tactics are often employed by marketers and nonprofits alike. You have to provide individuals the proper incentive that will keep them coming back time and time again. Reward your volunteers with whatever rewards or incentives you have available. Rewarding individuals for volunteering at multiple events or for multiple days in a row.

While most volunteers are merely after personal satisfaction, holding the red cape out in front of them is never a bad strategy!

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