pexels-photo-1350615While some organisations are content to have a proverbial revolving door for their staff and volunteers, taking steps to improve your retention rates will help increase morale and productivity in your NFP, while reducing your costs to find and onboard new members to your team.

The following tips will help you increase your volunteers’ interest and excitement in your cause and encourage them to volunteer with you long-term!

Welcome Your Volunteers to the Family

Many volunteers join a cause because they want to feel a sense of purpose, and feel that they belong to a special, specific group. It’s up to you to create a community and sense of belonging for your staff and volunteers. When onboarding your volunteers, make sure that you formally welcome them to your organisation.

Create an online location for your volunteers to gather, such as an online forum and discussion area that’s only available to them and others in your NFP. Offer a member’s only directory to help your volunteers connect and stay in touch with one another.

Encourage and Equip Your Volunteers to Assume Bigger Roles

Another top reason why folks choose to volunteer is to have an opportunity to be exposed to new things, such as a different language and culture, to meet new people and to pick up new skills. One way to encourage them to stay with you long term is by providing them opportunities to grow on a personal and professional level. Offer them unique, fulfilling experiences in their work, and give them the training and support that they need to assume greater responsibilities and new, larger roles within your organisation as their skill-level, confidence and experience grows!

Ask Your Volunteers to Share Their Stories

The process of thinking about our experiences and recording them, can help each of us to clarify, for ourselves and others, the meaning and importance of specific times and events in our lives. Help your volunteers to feel more connected to their work with your NFP by asking them to share their stories. Ask them to talk about what it is like working with your NFP and how this experience has changed their own life.

You could interview your volunteers and publish their stories on your site in the form of an insider’s look or in-depth interview. You could also have them tell their stories in their own words in the form of guest posts on your blog. Don’t limit your volunteers to the written word but ask them to consider stepping in front of the camera and let them tell their stories on video, or, create photo essays, or picture essays and include captions to allow them to illustrate their work and impact visually.

Have Fun

Provide a safe space for your volunteers to celebrate their wins by throwing parties for them on a regular basis. Offer entertainment and refreshment at your events. Acknowledge their performance, thank them for their work, and allow them to relax, and socialise. Try to vary the types of celebrations that you offer your volunteers, from formal banquets to simply sharing a meal or going out for a group activity to keep your events exciting, interesting and motivating!