October 15, 2018
Building Volunteer Support Strategies
Employ intentionality and individualization
• Focus on building relationships. A personal ask has the most potential for success!
• Be certain to highlight your mission, impact, and the benefits of volunteering on any recruitment materials.
• Form a team who regularly meets to assess volunteer needs and to brainstorm potential individuals with the necessary skill sets.
• Partner with other organizations, like churches, or engage local businesses or corporations in donating employee time.
• Connect with schools. High school students often have community service graduation requirements and college students are often looking for ways to gain experience and employment references.
• Create a cadre of recruiters by asking your current volunteers to help identify new ones. People socialize with friends who share similar interests and values. Your volunteers’ existing personal relationships can lead to successful requests for involvement by others in your project.
• People are motivated to act from the heart. Share testimonials in verbal and written approaches.
• Create episodic activities and initially ask for a short-term commitment with an end date, but ensure that volunteers have an opportunity to embrace the vision and feel the passion of the organization once they are engaged. (Remember the Tarnside Curve idea)
• Make a personal connection to avoid overwhelming new volunteers with tasks that are outside of their interests or comfort zone.
• Assign new volunteers to work with leaders who are energized and passionate.
• Realize that a no response is not a personal rejection and that it does not necessarily mean that the individual will never commit. Be willing to ask again at a later point in time.
Maximize the potential of board members
• Educate new members of their expected responsibilities, such as fundraising activities, when the invitation to serve is extended.
• Tailor responsibilities! Take the time to interview each member and assess skill sets and interests. Align assigned tasks with each member’s inherent skills and motivations.
• Hold members accountable. Have honest conversations with inactive board members. Provide rewards and recognition for exemplary effort.
Online Resources: www.energizeinc.com and volunteermatch.org
National and Community Service Guide: Strategic Volunteer Engagement: A Guide for Nonprofit and Public Sector Leaders ( https://www.nationalservice.gov/resources/member-and-volunteer-development/strategic-volunteer-engagement-guide-nonprofit-and-public )