Volunteer Management

How to Inspire Volunteers in 4 Steps

Did you know volunteers give 2X more to nonprofits than people that don’t volunteer? And, studies show one hour of donated time is worth $25.43 an hour. Beyond their value and generosity, volunteers inspire others to give and participate in causes dear to their hearts. 

When enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers greet visitors, answer questions at welcome booths, and help organize events, you’ll notice increased engagement levels. They lead by example, and this type of positive energy is infectious to those around them. 

While we can go on listing the benefits of volunteers, one of the biggest challenges is inspiring people to sign up in the first place. To get you started, here are 4 steps to help you inspire volunteers throughout the year. 

Step #1: Be noticeably organized

Even the most passionate volunteer can be deterred from signing up if the event doesn’t come across as organized. People need to know specific information to make the right decision for their schedule. When the information is clear, people will respond faster and you’ll have fewer last-minute cancellations.

Here are some initial pieces of information to share when recruiting volunteers:Arrival and departure times for volunteers

  • Arrival and departure times for volunteers
  • Dress code
  • Volunteer positions and assigned hours at the position
  • A thorough description of responsibilities
  • Communication tools for requesting breaks and asking questions during the event
  • Contact information of event/service leaders

One way to reach the level of organization needed to inspire volunteers is by utilizing the features of an advanced CRM (like DonorDirect). Using the CRM, you can enlist volunteers, manage tasks, and coordinate roles. Beyond managing volunteers, your CRM will help you better communicate with donors and those interested in attending outreach events, small groups, and more. 

Step #2: Make it incredibly easy to sign up 

Roughly 25% of people that want to volunteer don’t because no one asked. When you see someone that would be ideal in a volunteer position, don’t hesitate to extend a personal invitation. During services, small groups, or outreach events, mention how people can sign up to volunteer on your website. 

Add a dedicated page to your website with information on volunteering like the background check process and positions. Remember, the easier you make signing up and the more transparent you are about the process, the more people will be inspired to take that leap!

Step #3: Reduce the commitment level

Over 90% of Americans want to volunteer, but only 1 in 4 actually does. About 50% of Americans say the reason for not volunteering is lack of time. When recruiting volunteers (especially first-timers), keep the commitment level low, so it’s easy to fit into busier schedules. Consider recruiting more volunteers to help for a couple hours versus enlisting fewer volunteers that work longer hours. 

Be mindful that you don’t overload them with too many responsibilities either. Let people know that volunteering once doesn’t obligate them to do it a second time. When they have a chance to see what’s really like, you’ll inspire more people to sign up again (and again!). 

Step #4: Provide a helpful amount of training

To ensure volunteers are confident in their position and understand their responsibilities, training is necessary. Even a brief session to go over duties before an outreach event can go a long way. Provide a helpful amount of training that keeps people engaged. Get them excited about the rewards of volunteer work by sharing the results of past outreach events. And don’t forget to thank them for their hard work!  

Grab a FREE demo to see how DonorDirect can help you simplify volunteer sign ups (and stay within compliance for background screenings) before your next outreach event!