Saturday, January 30, 2016

3 Simple Ways to Improve Volunteer Retention

This article was originally shared on Energize Inc's A-Z Volunteer Management Library of Retention Resources (under "Tips from colleagues.") 
Recruiting new volunteers is critical, but it’s vitally important to consider how to retain current volunteers. With a new year upon us, now is the time to think about how to make improvements to help your volunteer base thrive in 2016. Here are some tips to help improve your retention efforts in 2016.

Understand Goals

Do you know what your volunteers want to get out of the experience? If not, find out! From there, you can help your volunteers succeed and enjoy their experience. If they want to gain experience in marketing, find opportunities for them to engage in a marketing role. Find out if they want to be challenged in their volunteer experience, or if they are happy just performing the simplest tasks.  
TxtMovies offers a free Get to Know You Survey that you can send to volunteers and when volunteers fill out the standard questions you will be emailed their responses. Did I say it was free?

Recognize and Reward

A simple message of  “you’re doing great!” is a big morale booster. Make sure volunteers know how appreciative you are of their service through simple reminders.  Consider various ways to reward your volunteers, as well. Rewards could include: providing snacks, inviting them to a once-a-year volunteer appreciation night, or providing a small token of appreciation. Children’s Hospital of Orange County Volunteer Services and other volunteer organizations across the country reward volunteers with RedBox and Amazon movie codes via email or text message using a service called txtMovies.


There’s a reason why each individual chose to volunteer with your organization. They probably have a personal interest or connection, so remind them of how their service is helping improve the lives of others. One great way to do this is to connect the volunteers with the individuals that your organization serves. This heartfelt “thank you” from those served could be in-person, via notecard, or even a video distributed to volunteers.
Try these suggestions in 2016, you’ll be on your way to a stronger, more engaged volunteer base that will help you drive your organization forward in the new year and beyond.