Volunteers are the backbone of countless charity and non-profit organisations, and just like employees they need to be motivated and encouraged to keep giving of themselves.
The rules that apply to managing a team of volunteers are the same rules that will apply to managing any working team:
1.Show appreciation Thank your volunteers for helping out and thank them again. People are more likely to enjoy working in an environment in which they are appreciated. Most volunteers don’t volunteer for appreciation but showing them appreciation will serve as a way of encouraging them to perform even better!
2. Get to know your team Know your volunteers, and their back story. Each individual is different and is motivated differently. Knowing your volunteers helps in improving communication and will give you insight in keeping them motivated.
3. Don’t overwork your volunteers Make sure you have a roster that enables your volunteers to have weeks/ days off to avoid burn out. If volunteers get burnt out they are likely to stop volunteering or give less than their best on the days the do volunteer. The trick is to make volunteering a joy and not a chore.
4. Train your team and offer growth opportunities Training is important along with clear guidelines on how to complete tasks. Growth opportunities also need to be offered so that volunteers are excited about the possibility of growth in the volunteering role.
5. Allocate roles appropriately Take time to understand and know your volunteer team, study their strengths and weaknesses, this will assist in allocating tasks and roles appropriately.
6. Recognise achievements Celebrate your team’s achievements. Recognition keeps high achievers motivated and also helps the rest of the team aspire to perform better for similar recognition.
7. Keep the team together Occasional team meetings/ team building activities are crucial. These meetings keep everyone in the loop and foster team spirit. A team that works well together, will always achieve the best results.
8. Respect Treat your team of volunteers with respect. Volunteers who feel respected are more engaged and motivated. Respect also fosters a culture of trust.
A motivated volunteer will do a good job and is very likely to invite and more volunteers to join your cause.