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How to Recruit and Retain Quality Volunteers
2 min to read ✭ In this post, you'll learn six key strategies to recruit and retain quality volunteers for your organization.
Successful organizing wins elections, influences policy, and allows groups to make the changes that they want to see in the world. A key part of this organizing is the recruitment and retainment of high-quality volunteers who serve as the power and fuel of every mission. Check out these ways to recruit and retain driven volunteers.
1. Identify Your Organization’s Needs
Establishing your goals before jumping into recruitment will allow you to better train and motivate your volunteers. Connecting with the community through informational events allows organizers to include community members (and potential volunteers!) in the initial discussions. Providing your volunteers with clear direction from the very beginning will also make your organization’s goals feel more tangible and attainable.
2. Understand Your Capacity
How many volunteers can your team realistically manage and train? Assess these capabilities with your organizers to determine the number of volunteers you’ll need and what you’ll need from them. Is it more important to have a large number of volunteers for an event like a march or protest? Or would it be better to have fewer, highly skilled volunteers for more complicated missions?
3. Build Community and Loyalty
Successful, productive events can still give time for socializing and celebration once the work is done! Your mission is important, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun as well. Volunteers feel more loyal to the community and its organizers when they feel welcomed. Part of the reason people volunteer is to feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves, and providing a community gives them that feeling and purpose.
4. Train Volunteers to Develop Leaders
Training sessions make volunteers more confident in the work they do and prepares them to go out and make a difference. This confidence is reflected in their work and gives them the necessary skills to be effective. Training has also been found to increase motivation and improve volunteer retention rates. There are many programs available to teach new organizers who are looking to sharpen their training and leading skills.
5. Confirm Everything
As great as the intentions of your volunteers are, sometimes things come up, and people must cancel. Don’t let your 40-person event dwindle down into a 10-person event! Prevent this by following up with volunteers so you have a better estimate of who will be showing up. Better yet, use volunteer management tools such as Mobilize to auto-follow up with post-shift surveys, day of reminders, messaging features, and other handy tools.
6. Recognize Your Volunteers
Thanking volunteers is an important part of managing their involvement and encouraging them to give more. There are many actions both large and small that organizers can take to recognize their volunteers. Take a look through 50 volunteer recognition ideas and choose the ones that work best for you and your organization to make sure that your volunteers feel appreciated for all of the work that they do.