Volunteer retention can be challenging. Here are some top tips to keeping volunteers happy and engaged
When volunteers first sign up, they are eager to help and willing to get stuck in. But all the effort that’s put into successfully recruiting volunteers is wasted if effort isn’t also put in to keeping them happy and engaged.
Fortunately, with some simple retention strategies, you can reduce your turnover rate and build a team of enthusiastic and productive volunteers that you can come to rely on.
Equip your volunteers with the training and tools they need to be successful
While it might be tempting to put your volunteers to use right away, no one can be expected to succeed in their job without the proper training or tools.
Not only does training provide volunteers with the knowledge and resources they need to carry out their work effectively, but it also empowers them to take on responsibilities and have a measurable impact.
All this will help your volunteers to feel more invested in your organisation.
While training will differ depending on the type, size and mission of your organisation as well as the roles your volunteers will carry out, at the very least, training should:
- Provide a deeper understanding of your organisation’s mission
- Outline role responsibilities, tasks and expectations
- Teach volunteers how to use digital tools like your volunteer rota management software
- Show volunteers how to safely operate the equipment they will be required to use
Promote a positive community environment
Volunteers may sign up to volunteer for your organisation because they support your cause, but they are also likely to be there because they want to meet like-minded people and form friendships.
As a volunteer manager, helping your volunteers to make these friendships and connections will go a long way to ensuring they have fun working, look forward to their shifts, and ultimately, keep coming back.
According to the UK’s 2020/21 Community Life Survey, the no.1 barrier that stops people from volunteering is their other commitments. This is also one of the main reasons volunteers quit, because they can no longer fit volunteering into their busy schedules.
The solution is simple: to offer flexibility.
Offering flexibility is easy to do with RotaCentral’s volunteer rota management software. RotaCentral can be accessed on desktop or mobile and allows your volunteers to self-schedule, swap, cancel and change shifts. Volunteers can add their own holiday dates and confirm shifts with the click of a button. They can also set up the times of the week when they have other commitments, so that the system can provide volunteering opportunities to match their availability.
Not only does this give volunteers the flexibility they want, but it also saves you time, as a volunteer manager, by eliminating the need for complex spreadsheets and multiple back-and-forth emails.
Recognise and reward successes
Recognising and rewarding successes is a great way to show your volunteers that they are an important part of your organisation. Positive reinforcement is such a simple, yet powerful, way of maintaining engagement and enthusiasm.
Consider starting a recognition programme like ‘volunteer of the month’ or another programme that highlights the contributions of volunteers. Hosting team-lunches, sharing victories on social media, and sending personalised thank-you messages can also help to make sure your volunteers feel valued.
Find out more about RotaCentral
Take a step towards improving your volunteer retention and schedule a demo of RotaCentral’s volunteer rota management software → Schedule a demo.
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