Hiring employees and contractors is a great way to create jobs in the community; however, let’s face it – if you are a small nonprofit, your funding might be too tight to afford a paid workforce. Each nonprofit needs to acquire and sustain a pool of volunteers that will be available to help during a charitable event, fundraising event, or whenever needed. Some tips for healthy and productive collaboration include:
The incentive. Keep your volunteers interested and motivated; encourage them to achieve great results by explaining the goals of the organization and the benefits it brings to the community and society in general.
Show interest. Understand what they want, why they like and support your organization. Do they receive anything in exchange for their services except personal satisfaction?
Ask for Help. Set expectations – tell them what needs to be done and how. They are here to help you, thus you need to be clear and straightforward with what you want them to do. You will do the planning, while your volunteers will help you implement it.
Build the relationship. Learn more about their job, hobby, family, and causes they support. The goal is to use their services in the future again. Invest some of your time to get to know them. A Personal approach is always appreciated.
Request Collaboration. Make them feel like a part of your organization. Invite them to important meetings and let them share their opinion. Your volunteers are your team, and they will often have some valuable ideas. In fact, your volunteers who also help other nonprofits will bring fresh experience to the table.
Treat. Provide water, snacks, and t-shirts that the volunteers can keep and use to spread the word about your organization; provide a free lunch. Little tokens matter.
Provide Feedback. Give them a feedback about the good work they did. Feeling appreciated will make them come and help again next time when you need them. Share the impact of their work with other volunteers.
Communicate. You don’t want your volunteers to hear from your organization only when you need them. Make sure that you communicate and share information about the success of your organization regularly. Manage and update a contact list with all volunteers.
Show Appreciation. Instead of a cliché “thank you” note, you can include a short summary of the good work they did with pictures and their names on your organization’s website and/or social media. Always acknowledge their participation and input. Remember that a bit of “bragging” about your team is a powerful motivation engine.