No pay. No promotions. No benefits. It can be tough to attract (and retain) good volunteers. Consider these tips for building a loyal corps of volunteers for your nonprofit:
1) Appeal to their needs (not your own). People volunteer for a variety of reasons — for new experiences, to build their social network, to develop a new skill or just to feel needed. Ask volunteers at the outset what they’d like to get from their experience, and look for ways to satisfy that.
2) Make it easy to volunteer. Organize your volunteer opportunities into small, easily accomplished tasks with clear starting and ending points. Vary the time slots so that people can choose dates and times that work for them. And provide a variety of tasks, including some that require working in a group and some that allow people to work alone.
3) Let them dip their toes in the water. Provide one-time, one-day opportunities for volunteers to get a feel for your organization — and help them get over their initial fear of commitment.
4) Invest in a volunteer coordinator. With a designated volunteer coordinator, you can build your organization’s capacity to effectively utilize volunteers. Among other things, your volunteer coordinator can create volunteer position descriptions, design procedures for meeting with potential volunteers, and establish training and recognition programs.
5) Put the Internet to work. Finally, tap into some of the programs and services that help recruit and place volunteers, including:
• Network for Good http://networkforgood.org
• Idealist http://idealist.org
• Volunteer Match http://volunteermatch.org
• Volunteer Center http://volunteercenter.com