Keeping volunteers: tips for charities

Think about who volunteers in your organisation. Knowing them well will enable you to manage your volunteers so you can make sure they stay involved with your organisation. Volunteers spreading the word is a great way to attract new ones, so it’s important to make sure that they are happy to be involved with your charity. A few things non-profit organisations can think about are how they go about keeping volunteers enthusiastic, how they communicate with them, how they can make them feel part of the organisation and what could cause the relationship to go wrong.

Recognition – thank your volunteers

It is always a good idea to informally thank your volunteers for what they do.  Tell them when they are doing a good job and ask about their opinions of internal developments to make them feel part of your business.

Organisations can also organise more formal events such as volunteer awards or other volunteer events, where volunteers have a chance to be recognised by a whole group. Charities can also demonstrate their recognition towards their volunteers by helping them gain accreditations or involve them in work groups when possible.

Investing in volunteers

Investing in Volunteers (IiV) is the UK standard for good practice in good volunteer management. This is the ideal quality standard if your organisation wishes to benchmark its involvement and quality of volunteer management. This can help prove the effectiveness of work with volunteers and enhance the organisation’s reputation.

Handling complaints and solving issues

Whether it is a volunteer complaining about a member of staff, volunteers that feel that they are not getting the resources they need or clients complaining about volunteers, it is important to have appropriate support and supervision in place so that difficulties can be solved without delay. Volunteers need to feel their complaints are handled fairly and that the grievance procedure of the organisation can be followed as for any member of staff.

Letting go of volunteers

As much as you may want to focus on keeping volunteers, it is equally important to know when to let them go. Maybe they have been volunteering for a while and are looking for another challenge, or maybe they’ve just run out of steam. In any case, unless there is a serious case of misconduct, volunteers should all be properly thanked and given the opportunity of an exit interview. Views and opinions from departing volunteers can be a great learning opportunity. Treating volunteers as they leave in a positive manner will help the organisation retain a positive reputation as well.

We can support your organisation with everything relating to employer responsibilities in working with volunteers as well as with the leadership and management around policies, procedures and training for your management teams in order to get the best from your volunteering teams. Get in touch to find out more!

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