How to retain your volunteers: Breaking the ice

Post by Dani D Picture of Dani D
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Volunteers  want to give up their time to help your charity grow and achieve your mission.

But, how do you keep a volunteer giving up their valuable time again and again?

You need to humanise your mission and therefore the work you undertake. Take a moment to figure out who your volunteer is and why they feel your cause or purpose fits in with their life and values.

People are the heart of charities. So it makes sense that you should take the time to understand your volunteers. This will help you to keep the volunteers coming back to help time and time again.

This sounds pretty straight forward, right?

But how do you do this? Where do you start? What do you say? 

We’ve come up with just a handful of simple tips and techniques you can use in your volunteer recruitment that will help you continue to work with them again and again!

We’ve included our first tip below and the other 4 will be available on our blog over the next 4 weeks. You can keep an eye out on our Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin channels for news of their arrival.

Happy Volunteers by Cristi Tohatan on Unsplash

Break the ice

Knowing who your volunteers are can help you maximise their time as a resource. Like at an interview, ask questions that show what a person is like and if they fit into your team.

Don’t be scared to ask questions, because it's the only way you'll find out about any key skills your volunteers may have that they can bring to your cause.

They may be a teacher, artist, musician, chef or scientist - the possibilities are endless! 

Each person has a fantastic set of transferable skills that your charity or organisation could really benefit from.

Find out where the talents or skills of your volunteers lie to engage them in activities. 

Assigning them roles suited to their skills means they’ll instantly feel like they’re adding value to your cause and will unlock the best potential of your volunteer team.

How you do this in your organisation will be down to how your charity is run. For some, the best way is through a questionnaire or skills matrix. For others, a simple, informal chat will help them to understand what their volunteer is good and where they think they could add value. 

It’s always worth remembering that just because someone’s day job is a chef does NOT mean that they want to give up their time to cook at a charity. 

Always ask them if they’re happy to align their day job skills with activities where relevant so that they feel valued and you receive a more enthusiastic volunteer. 

If there’s a skill your missing, why not find out if one of your volunteers’ fancies learning something new? There’s always something we’d love to learn but never had the opportunity. By offering this out to your current volunteers, they’ll feel rewarded and will create stronger loyalty to your cause.

Not sure where to start when finding out your volunteers' skills? We've created a skills and interest questionnaire which you can edit to fit your organisation's needs.

Get our questionnaire template straight to your inbox below and start retaining your volunteers....

To read the rest of our series, you can find them here:

1 - Breaking the ice

2 - Be Human

3 - Power of the Digital Age

4 - Two Simple Words To Make All The Difference!

5 - Make it Worth Their Time

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