Here at Volunteer Marlborough, we often hear questions about "how can we attract more volunteers?", "how can we keep the volunteers we have?", and "what do we need to do to encourage them?".
So what makes people want to give back to their community? What makes them keep coming back to our organisations, donating their time and energy to our causes, sharing their skills and experience, and helping our programmes and services? Feeling inspired!
If you want to get volunteers interested in what your organisation does, motivate them to walk through your doors and sign on to help, and then keep them coming back, you need to inspire them! But how do you do that?
Tie your volunteer programmes to your organisation's mission - In an ideal world, all volunteer programmes would have a mission-based approach. What this means is that, to anyone looking in, it is clear that all of your volunteer positions are tied in some way to your organisation mission so that volunteers (and the public!) can see exactly how what they're doing is making a difference...not just for the organisation but also for your clients and service users. They want to know their efforts are helping!
Share the impact - Keep track of volunteer hours and contributions, measure outcomes, show KPIs being met. Tracking statistics is great, but do they really show the impact? Sure you may have had 200 people through the doors of your community kitchen, but what was the impact on those people? Did accessing your services mean they didn't have to worry about being warm and fed for a few days? Were they able to connect with their peers and form support networks? Document that, and share it with your volunteers!
Tell your stories - There is nothing more inspiring than hearing about what other people are doing to help the community! So tell your volunteer stories. Has Joe been volunteering for 15 hours a week for the last 5 years? In that time has he also supported the recovery of more than 200 alcohol dependent individuals? Tell his story! Has Sally been up at the crack of dawn every Saturday morning for the last 6 months to help transport elderly rest-home residents to a social club so they don't feel so isolated? Tell her story! Learning about what your current volunteers are doing to impact their community can have a major impact on the decision of someone new of whether or not to join your organisation and support your cause.
For some examples of volunteer stories, check out the following:
"In a world of algorithms, hashtags, and followers, know the true importance of human connection"