October 19, 2021

ABC’s of Volunteer Retention

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard 008

Recruiting and retaining volunteers is an on going challenge for most non-profit organizations.  Once THE place to volunteer, hospitals have seen an overall decline in the number of individuals who choose to volunteer their time in  auxiliaries and volunteer departments.  So when you do find those precious volunteers, keeping them should become a number one priority!

After careful thought and a little bit of research, it is my opinion that successful volunteer retention can be enhanced with a few simple steps.

A. Make your organization attractive. Shar McBee, in To Lead is To Serve, says that when you are feeling positive about your work (and your organization) it attracts others to participate.  On the other hand, when you feel overwhelmed or burdened, no one volunteers to join in.  A great exercise to rekindle a feeling of spirit at your next meeting is to have members break into pairs, and ask the following questions:

  • What did you love about your volunteer work in the beginning?
  • What was important about this work?
  • What is challenging about it now?
  • What is fun about it?

Take the feedback from this exercise and put it in your newsletters and promotional materials, post quotes and pictures of these folks on your bulletin board and website, and share it with the staff and friends of your hospital.  And then, watch as the energy of your organization goes up!

B. Create a great, big welcome mat! Individuals who “join”  volunteer organizations want to be able to network and build quality relationships that fulfill both their personal and professional needs. Cynthia D’Amour’s, How to Turn Generation Me into Active Members of Your Association, has some great tips on helping your new members make a successful entry:

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