As your organization works to advance its cause, you’ll need a workforce to get the job done. People volunteer for plenty of reasons, from logging community service hours to enhancing their resumes. Whatever their reason for volunteering, these selfless acts benefit your organization’s mission.
Sometimes, you need more than a few new volunteers putting in their time. You need highly skilled volunteers whose abilities bring valuable experience to your operations. Tapping into this demographic of volunteers can be easy as long as you know how to keep them engaged in your cause. Soon, these skilled team members will be using their talents and abilities to further your organization’s mission.
5 Ways to Engage Highly Skilled Volunteers
Engaging skilled volunteers is fundamental to your organization’s success. But you need to know how to secure these individuals and keep them around. Practice the following five tips for engaging highly skilled volunteers to keep them involved with your cause:
1. Define the Roles for All Participants
Keeping every volunteer informed throughout the process is essential for high productivity and satisfaction. Define everyone’s roles to avoid confusion and a lack of productivity. Each volunteer should know exactly what they’ll be doing at any given step of the process. This knowledge is as critical for you and your organization as it is for the volunteers themselves.
Working with volunteers is a two-way street. Your organization benefits from their labor, providing your mission with free skills and abilities. But your volunteers’ time is valuable to them, and they’re choosing to spend it with your organization. Their participation could be for many personal reasons, including a true conviction in what your organization stands for or a desire to grow in their chosen field. No matter why they’ve joined your cause, keeping your highly skilled volunteers informed on their roles shows you respect their time and service.
Here are some ways you can help define your volunteers’ roles to keep everyone engaged:
- Divide projects into “bite-size” pieces to make tasks more manageable, helping everyone know what they’re doing on a given project.
- Set expectations at the beginning of a project so volunteers know what you need from them.
- Schedule regular checkup meetings to talk about project progress and to receive and give updates.
- Spend plenty of time in planning stages to lay a knowledgeable foundation for everyone before the project even begins.
2. Ensure the Project Is a Priority for All Participants
Levels of enthusiasm for a project can increase or decrease depending on circumstances. When emotions are high, like after a natural disaster, you may receive a large influx of volunteer applications. Other times, it may take more effort to encourage individuals to help your cause. As you start your next project, make sure every participant — volunteers and organizations alike — consider it a priority from start to finish.
Skilled volunteers who bring commitment and dedication to the project can make a huge difference in your organization’s success. You should do all you can to keep them engaged and avoid burnout. Here are a few ways you can help facilitate that level of dedication:
- Make information sharing a priority so everyone can stay connected, informed, and involved.
- Spend internal resource hours supplementing the volunteers’ work.
- Remind volunteers that their service is making a difference and that they are essential to the project’s success.
- Engage directly with the individuals, communities, or organizations your project aims to help to show volunteers their impact.
3. Gain Buy-In From the Top of the Organization Down
Open support from higher staff members of your organization is a strong influencing factor in your project’s success. The top of your organization has the strongest influence on volunteers’ support. Your highly skilled volunteers may have a higher success and retention rate if they know people in your organization, including those at the top, are counting on them and their abilities.
Your skilled volunteers are as much a part of your organization as your top employees, so everyone should value them as such. Make volunteers feel appreciated to ensure they stay with your organization, providing their expertise and abilities to your operations. Encourage your entire organization to show their support for your volunteers through gratitude, encouragement, and other positive reinforcement methods. This support will keep volunteer workers engaged, satisfied, and excited to use their talents.
4. Emphasize the Advantage of Accessing a Broader Skillset
Encourage your skilled volunteers to view the project through a competitive lens. What is your organization doing that others aren’t? What will your current project’s impact be? This perspective may lead your team to view individuals in their immediate circles as possible volunteers who can also join your cause. If you foster an environment of openness and emphasize the power of diversity in projects, you may find yourself with more skilled volunteers who come to you, thanks to recommendations from current volunteers.
Your constituents are more than a network for funding and other monetary gains. They can be a ripe resource for skilled volunteers who can help your organization reach its goals and make a difference in the world. Parts of your project can arise that prove to be a challenge. The solution to these hurdles could be the people your existing volunteers cross paths with daily. When your skilled volunteers bring more people to the project, you can meet your goals in new and exciting ways.
5. Emphasize the Learning Opportunities From Volunteering
People volunteer for reasons that are important to them, such as meeting a need in the community or investing in a social cause. But you can help keep your skilled volunteers engaged by emphasizing the learning opportunities they could have from volunteering. Many participants gain invaluable knowledge related to their daily lives and career paths from working on a volunteer project. From leadership skills to improved teamwork abilities, these and other perks can benefit your volunteers in various ways.
Be sure to include these learning opportunities in a list of benefits for participants. This advantage is an attractive possibility for your volunteers and could appeal to them on a personal and professional level. If you can find a way to align your project with the emotions and career goals of others, you can gain more skilled volunteers who stay engaged and committed for the length of the project.
Contact Volgistics for Help Managing Your Volunteers
Do you need help keeping your volunteers engaged with your organization’s projects? Reach out to Volgistics for volunteer management support. We specialize in helping clients across various industries who rely on skilled volunteers on a regular basis. With volunteer management software, we can help you improve your volunteers’ experience as they use their abilities within your organization.
Chances are high you use technology to track your employees’ time and activity. Do the same for your volunteers with help from Volgistics. Contact us today for more information or sign up for a free trial today.