pexels-photo-91227Often, the work that volunteers perform can be difficult, and seemingly full of thankless tasks. This makes it difficult to keep your volunteers motivated to achieve their best, and, to continue supporting your nonprofit for the long term. The following are a few ideas to help nonprofits retain their volunteers by showing them just how much their work matters, and is appreciated.


Nearly everyone has multiple commitments on their time and energy. Show your volunteers that you are aware that they have lives away from your nonprofit, and that you truly value the time that they do give to your organisation. Offer realistic, flexible schedules, and even periodic time away from volunteering to make it easy, rather than difficult, for individuals to give their time and energy to your nonprofit.


How does your organisation recognise its volunteers that go all out and that deliver extraordinary results? Is it just once a year at an annual awards program? Look for ways to provide public recognition to your volunteers on a frequent, regular basis.

Some ideas include:

1. Monthly interviews with top performing volunteers. You can post it on your website and share on your social media

2. Collaborating with third parties to offer monthly rewards such as:

- free trip to a day spa

- free dry cleaning

- free lunch at a trendy restaurant,

- designated monthly parking place

- a gift basket of chocolates

Emphasise Opportunities to Socialise and Network

How often does your organisation host events that allow volunteers and others connected with your NFP to get together? Social events allow volunteers to have fun and get to know one another as people. They can be as formal, or casual, as you want. Ideally you will have a mix of the two types at regular times during the year, from monthly potlucks, to office parties, and more structured events, such as inviting public figures and other influencers to address your volunteers.

Show Them How They Made a Difference

All of us want to feel that our time is well spent, and that the actions that we take matter. Many NFPs automatically assume that their volunteers know just how important their work is, and neglect to tell them just how much of an impact their efforts have made in their service community. Look for ways to show your volunteers just how much of a difference their work makes.  You can do this by sharing feedback that is provided by service recipients. Another way is to measure the progress that has been by volunteers to advance the mission, and sharing the results.

Ask for Feedback

Do you really want to know why your volunteers signed up, and, what it will take to keep them? Why not simply ask them? Conduct a survey and ask probing questions such as, “Why do you enjoy volunteering?” and “What steps can we take to make your volunteer experience better?” Your volunteers will feel much more appreciated if you demonstrate that you are listening to what they have to say and care about their needs.

Of course, there are a host of additional ways to motivate individuals to want to volunteer with your nonprofit. To ensure that you are on track with your incentives, focus on the specific reasons why your volunteers are choosing to support you, and how you can better meet their needs and exceed their expectations.