Did you know that only 15% of volunteers do the majority of volunteering?
In volunteer recruitment, we often talk about how to inspire people who are passionate about your organization’s mission. But, the reality is, about half of volunteer hours are fulfilled by people who do not consider themselves regular volunteers. There are a number of reasons why people volunteer – and it’s not always their passion for your organization.
These volunteers might serve with a group from work or school, to fulfill community service hours, to attend an event for free, to try something new, and many other reasons. How do you show these volunteers the value of their contribution and maybe inspire them to come back? We have a few ideas in mind:
Find skills-based projects that make a measurable impact.
Maybe an inexperienced volunteer wouldn’t be the best person to greet guests or give tours, but they have plenty to offer behind the scenes to keep the event running smoothly. Try placing the new volunteer in a job where they can directly see their impact – maybe that’s set-up or assembly, or maybe they have more specific skills and can help with lights and sound. Maybe they help serve food and pass out swag – whatever it is, try to make sure it’s a task that has a goal outside of the overall event mission.
Create a sense of community.
People are more likely to volunteer if the work is collaborative. Try to create volunteering teams or groups to accomplish Even if the job is more individual in nature, create space for community before and after the event. Allowing new volunteers to sign up as a group can also increase their comfort level and make it an enjoyable, positive experience.
Pair the new volunteers with an experienced volunteer.
Even if infrequent volunteers want to pair with a friend, place them with a station leader who can show them the ropes. Similar to the teamwork idea, putting less-experienced volunteers with someone who knows your organization culture will increase their comfort level in the new environment.
Increase professional exposure.
Another reason to volunteer is the networking potential! Be sure these volunteers get to meet the event organizers. Introduce them to key players in your organization and make sure they feel welcomed. Meeting corporate and nonprofit leaders can help the volunteer build their professional network.
Follow up. Everytime.
As with all your event volunteers, follow up with your less experienced volunteers after the event.Share follow up steps to learn more about your organization and remind them of upcoming opportunities.
In the end, all volunteer hours are valuable. You never know how volunteers may find your organization or event, but you can encourage them to come back, even if just for the free swag. Treat them with the same respect you would treat your regular volunteers and thank them for their service!