How to Make Volunteers Feel Like They Make a Difference

Volunteers contribute to the health and safety of communities worldwide. By donating their time, millions of volunteers make a difference in others’ lives daily. From cleaning up litter to tutoring young students to answering crisis lines, these actions show compassion and care for those around us.

It’s crucial to remind your volunteers of their importance. Volunteers who feel appreciated are more likely to enjoy their work and return with more help. With the right appreciation strategies, you can retain current volunteers and recruit new ones for your organization.

Here are some ways to show your volunteers their work matters.

How to Show Volunteers They Matter

If you want to improve your volunteer appreciation tactics, there are many new ideas you can try. One of the best ways to encourage volunteers is by showing the impact of their actions. Seeing how their volunteer time affects community members reminds them about the importance of volunteering. It can also improve self-esteem and inspire them to continue helping in the future. But volunteers can’t always see the results of their actions immediately, making showing them the worth of their work more challenging and more critical.

You can show volunteers their work’s value with these techniques:

1. Include Impacts in Training

Training is an integral part of the volunteer process. You display the type of work the volunteers will perform while explaining your organization’s values. A good training experience makes volunteers feel welcome, prepares them for their upcoming work, and introduces them to fellow workers.

You can also start showing volunteers the value of their work during initial training. Including the impacts early on demonstrates how their actions will benefit others. One way to do this is by displaying stories of how previous volunteers affected the community. For instance, if your project focuses on cleaning up litter, you could show before-and-after pictures of previous cleanups.

2. Reach out Afterward

It’s important to keep in touch with volunteers after they complete their work. Whether you want to maintain personal connections or share concrete examples of their volunteer impacts, following up shows volunteers you appreciate them.

You can share information like:

  • Statistics or results: If you receive updates on the project’s results, you can share those with volunteers. Try to translate statistics into concrete impacts. For instance, instead of telling volunteers they contributed 50 hours total to a youth literacy project, explain how their efforts improved the kids’ reading skills.
  • Gratitude from community members: Hearing others’ appreciation is another way to bolster volunteers. If you hear a community member mention their gratitude, be sure to pass it along to volunteers. Kind words from people directly affected by the work show volunteers firsthand recognition.
  • Upcoming events: You can also inform volunteers of upcoming projects that might interest them. If you have similar volunteer opportunities, tell them the details. Sharing new projects shows volunteers you appreciate their work and remember their efforts.

Maintaining communication relies on updated contact information. You’ll want to track volunteer information like phone numbers and email addresses so you can communicate afterward. Using a volunteer database, like Volgistics, is one of the best ways to keep track of all current and previous volunteers. You can organize volunteers by demographics, volunteer interests, or whatever characteristics you prefer.

3. Offer Long-Term Opportunities

Another way to show volunteers their value is by offering extended opportunities. Volunteers participating in only one event might not feel as connected to the project. It might also be more challenging to show them the direct impact of their work if it was only a few hours.

By creating long-term projects and encouraging participation, volunteers can see the direct growth of their work over time. For example, consider the difference between an hour-long tutoring session and a semester-long tutoring project. If you worked on math problems with an elementary school student for just one hour, a volunteer might not see the value of their efforts. But if they worked through math problems weekly and helped raise a student’s grade, they could see their work’s value directly.

Where possible, provide or create longer partnerships and opportunities. Volunteers can feel more connected with their work and witness the difference they make.

You can keep volunteering interesting and fulfilling with ideas like these

How to Better Engage Volunteers

Another component of retaining volunteers is engagement. When volunteers are interested in their work, they feel more purposeful. You can keep volunteering interesting and fulfilling with ideas like these:

1. Hold Regular Meetings

One way to increase volunteer engagement is by encouraging social connections. If participants form friendships while serving, they’ll find it even more rewarding.

By holding regular meetings, you give volunteers more opportunities to create bonds. You can use these meetings to share results and provide updates on the remainder of the project. To encourage participation, try including food or prizes. Whether you hold get-togethers weekly, monthly or any other timeframe, they keep volunteers interested in their efforts.

To notify volunteers about upcoming meets and events, you can use messaging software, like Volgistics. After putting in their contact information, you can message all volunteers at once or just a select few.

2. Ask for Their Opinions

Another way to engage volunteers is by getting to know them. Connecting with volunteers on a deeper level shows them you care about them personally, not just for their volunteer hours. You can learn more about volunteers by asking questions about their days, jobs, or other hobbies. Remember these details for later and ask follow-up questions.

You can also ask volunteers for opinions on aspects of the volunteering process. You could ask them about:

  • How they feel about the project so far
  • Desired schedules or shift times
  • Ideas for future projects

By asking for their input, you show how much you value them. And getting to express their thoughts helps volunteers feel more involved in the process.

3. Value Their Time

Lastly, you should always treat volunteers’ time with care and concern. Volunteers want to spend their time helping, so providing them with sufficient and interesting work is crucial. Make sure every volunteer has an assigned job with clear objectives and instructions. Where possible, assign volunteers tasks that align with their interests or skills. They will be more engaged with the work and feel more of a purpose in their volunteer hours.

Try Volgistics volunteer management software today

Try Volgistics Volunteer Management Software Today

It’s critical to show volunteers how much their work matters. If you’re looking to engage your volunteers more, volunteer management software can help.

Volgistics offers a wide range of volunteer software features. From a comprehensive volunteer database to streamlined messaging software, we provide various solutions to help you connect with volunteers more easily. Volgistics software is simple to use and doesn’t require additional IT infrastructure, allowing you to get going easily.

To get started with Volgistics, contact us today.