The following blog post was written by Kelty Christensen, Learner Engagment Officer at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement. Kelty coordinates the Intercultural Centre’s ICan Crew - a diverse group of 140 learners who volunteer at campus events as well as within the community.
How do you keep your volunteers coming back?
People are drawn to volunteering because they want to give their time and make a difference. For there to be an ongoing volunteering commitment, a relationship between a volunteer and the organization has to be developed. What would be the incentive to return if there is no connection? The key to keeping volunteers is to make it personal. How is this done?
- Recognition builds loyalty. Volunteers what to know that their contribution of time has made a difference.
- Showing appreciation for your volunteers' time through either giving a small gift, a certificate, food, a thank you card, a picture or a letter of reference are all acknowledgements that show volunteers that you are grateful for their service.
- Volunteers show up and are expecting to be put to work. Having a clear role prepared for them shows that you respect their time.
- Offering training and orientation also shows the commitment of an organization to investing in a volunteer.
- Keep in touch with volunteers regularly. Volunteers don’t want to be forgotten, they want to be valued. Email your volunteers to let them know about upcoming volunteer opportunities and events or give them feedback about the volunteer work that they have done.
- Make it personal. Remember names and information. Personalizing contact with volunteers creates a sense of connectedness and makes the volunteer feel that what they do matters and makes a difference.
When it comes down to it, keeping volunteers is about building and maintaining relationships. What are some ways that you find are successful in maintaining volunteer commitment?