Why Nonprofits Benefit from Building Lasting Relationships with Summer Volunteers
This upcoming weekend is Memorial Day weekend, which means the unofficial start to summer has arrived!
There are so many reasons to love summer, the warm weather, the increase in free time, vacations, and the list goes on. Your nonprofit organization probably loves the summer because it brings in a flush of new volunteers excited to join your efforts!
With college students home for the summer seeking internship opportunities, families excited to help their community over the summer break, and even working adults that may have a little extra time to get involved, this is great for your organization!
Helping your volunteers feel engaged and successful is key to building a lasting relationship. When the summer begins to fade, and there is a busy fall ahead, your volunteers will continue to stay invested in your organization and its mission.
Start with a Great Onboarding Process!
This may seem incredibly obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less true! If you build a meaningful relationship and connect with your volunteers, they will get behind not only your cause but your organization!
One of the best ways to do this is to dedicate some time to your new recruits during the onboarding process. Don’t have an onboarding process? Well, that’s about to change! Take the time to fully introduce your new volunteers to the organization and the team.
This means introducing them to your existing volunteers and staff members. Let them how your organization is structured, and help them understand how it functions. This will help them understand who to go to in certain situations and what role they will play.
When volunteers understand how they fit in and see that they can make a difference, it adds meaning to their experience.
Take Time to Find A Good Fit
This brings us to the next step of the equation, by getting to know your new volunteers, you will also have a better understanding of what they are great at! Much like in our careers and academic lives, we tend to gravitate towards and stick with tasks and roles that we feel comfortable with.
The most engaged volunteers are those that are performing work they find meaningful to contribute to the cause they are passionate about. It’s also a great idea to catch up with your volunteers regularly, this helps you gauge their engagement and find new opportunities for them.
Adjust your volunteers’ roles as needed, if they have a specific interest or talent, find a way to leverage this.
Keep Communication Going
Even the most dedicated volunteer needs to hear “thank you” sometimes! Part of building a lasting relationship with volunteers is to show gratitude. For example, thanking a new volunteer for stepping up or accomplishing a meaningful task, lets them feel not only appreciated but shows them that they are a valuable part of the team.
Giving and receiving feedback is also important, maybe you can help them thrive by providing feedback. On the other hand, you may learn things from their experiences that will help you add value to your organization. Two-way communication benefits everyone.
There you have it, some helpful tips for building lasting relationships with your volunteers. Do you have any tips that help your volunteers thrive? We’d love to hear them, connect with us on social media to share!
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