Unlike an employee, your volunteers will not receive monetary compensation for their work. There are about 1.5 million non-profit organizations, located in the United States. Nearly all of them are unable to pay their volunteers. This leaves you with the task of exciting them into participation, for free. So, how do you get volunteers excited about your non-profit cause?
Meet Their Needs
Do this as often as you can, and to the absolute best of your ability. Volunteers are people first. They have needs. The basics, like food, are a given. Everyone knows the trusty spaghetti dinner, but let’s take it a step further. Send a daily personal message to each volunteer. Sending an uplifting and encouraging note will show them you care. Utilizing p2p text messaging works perfect for this. Personal phone calls and emails also work well. Saying “Thank You” works wonders when sent at an unexpected time.
Having a leader your volunteers can trust makes all the difference. Listen when they talk. Take notes if you have to. Ask about their families, jobs, and interests. A loyal volunteer will feel as though they are helping you, personally. This has great benefits for the cause. Do not over-do it, and never be “fake”. You will find it easiest to build rapport when you are genuine. The goal is to care about them and make them aware of it. Rapport builds over time, but in the end, the rewards are amazing.
Monitor Their Movements
Like you, volunteers are human and can only take so much. Be mindful of what you are asking them to do. An overworked volunteer will develop a negative attitude towards not only you, but possibly your entire cause. You do not want to leave a bad taste in their mouth. It is difficult to be excited when you are exhausted. Make sure you are scheduling breaks and down time, to avoid burnout during your activities.
Feeling a connection, to you, is ultimately what will encourage them to stay motivated for your cause. At times you will feel like a cheerleader of sorts, but hang in there. An excited volunteer will run circles around someone that’s unmotivated. Taking the steps above is a step in the right direction. Do not be afraid to go the extra mile and reap the benefits.