20 Ways to Hold On to Helpers
Revised Volunteer Guide helps chapters retain RMEF’s unsung heroes
By Ralph Cinfio, Vice President of Fundraising Services
Today’s world offers a near-constant, fierce competition for a person’s time and money. And competition for volunteers is no different.
One of the hardest parts of becoming and remaining a top-notch nonprofit organization lies in the recruitment and retention of volunteers. Recruitment is a solution to the problem of not having enough volunteers; retention is a way to keep the volunteers we have to avoid that problem altogether. There is no point in being good at recruitment if we cannot keep volunteers coming back. RMEF’s goal is to ensure we are always working hard to fortify our volunteer teams so that we can continually fulfill the RMEF mission.
With this in mind, RMEF has revised our Volunteer Guide
. The guide goes hand-in-hand with the RMEF Policy Guide and Volunteer Toolbox
. These are accessible through the RMEF Volunteer website
or through your regional director. Collectively, this trifecta of help for chapter leaders has seen major revision in the last year, and it provides volunteers with tools that will enrich their experiences with RMEF.
There are many details, tricks and tips on how to maintain and grow our volunteer teams using proven recruitment, retention and recognition tactics. Here are 20 ideas to start you thinking. For more in-depth details, refer to the Policy Guide and Toolbox
1. Volunteer systems are fueled by the motivation of volunteers. Learn what motivates a volunteer and cater to it.
2. Make sure their experiences with RMEF match up with the reasons a person is volunteering.
3. Communicate RMEF mission successes. This is a volunteer’s paycheck!
4. Get organized; run efficient and effective meetings; provide meeting schedules, agendas, follow-up and structure.
5. Have fun and plan for it.
6. Have a solid core of volunteers sized to match your events and others waiting who are ready to step up.
7. Rotate committee positions, build leadership two deep and cross-train people.
8. Follow up with volunteers who leave your chapter and fix the reasons why!
9. Involve your volunteers. When people feel connected, they feel a sense of belonging and thrive on the relationships they make.
10. Be inclusive, help new volunteers feel appreciated and welcomed.
11. Engage new volunteers immediately with tasks and projects.
12. Assign a mentor from your committee to each new volunteer.
13. Explain the volunteer roles.
14. Discuss realistic expectations.
15. Celebrate volunteers’ accomplishments and their contributions to the goals of the group.
16. Chapter accomplishments can also be celebrated, giving equal credit to all team members.
17. Recognition must be consistent.
18. Get creative about leadership positions.
19. Volunteers are more likely to serve longer if they are able to use a skill they already possess.
20. You cannot say thank you enough. Recognize people in front of their peers.