How to engage volunteers as a small nonprofit?

With so much already to do, managing more people feels impossible. When you are already mentally, emotionally and physically invested to build your core programs, handling volunteers becomes an impossible ask. You gotta do what you gotta do!

There is hope. Get one volunteer who loves what you do and train her on the opportunities available with your nonprofit. You cannot get a better spokesperson for your cause to lead the enthusiastic army.

We often take for granted that volunteers don’t require much supervision, that’s a dangerous way to build an army. People are tiresome to manage. It’s a lot of fun, and love, but quite exhausting for the one organising it all. Take care of her, she’ll do the rest.

I’ll share three critical ways to manage volunteers.

Feed the mind, before you rein the body

Equip your volunteer lead with everything exciting that’s happening with the organisation. If she is informed and armed with content, she’ll ensure others are too. Volunteers do not like surprises, they’d like to know before the rest of the world does. Also, prefer to know in advance what’s expected of them.

Match them perfectly – to the T!

All volunteers aren’t of the same temperament, talent, nor have the time. Train the volunteer lead to recognise the depth and breadth of each of your offerings so she can match each volunteer based on the need, as and when new volunteers join in.

Respond to every single one

Never leave any volunteer unanswered or hanging for whatever reason. Close all conversations and requests you have with them.

Volunteers are your best brand icons. They can make or break your organisation. Be reasonable with them and they will return the favour ensuring far greater returns than you can possibly imagine. After all, they are human.

Volunteers are a gift to mankind. God stirs their hearts, they change the world.


About Joe

Communication professional. Public Relations, Employee Communication, Employee Volunteering, and Nonprofit Communication.

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