Volunteer Retention: How to Keep Your Volunteers Coming Back

A positive volunteering experience can lead to a life-long relationship with an organization. How can you make sure your superstar volunteers stay engaged, year after year?

Show Genuine Appreciation

Their work matters! Show you care.

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. A short “thank you” email will let your volunteers know they are appreciated. It only takes a few minutes, and it is an easy way to acknowledge what their help means to you and your organization. (You might even try upping your show of gratitude with a handwritten note for volunteers who went above and beyond!)

Track Contributions

Volunteering for a few hours a month might not seem like much, but over the course of a year it really adds up. Show how much you value your volunteers’ time by tracking volunteer hours and celebrating grand totals at the end of the year. Speaking of…

Celebrate Together

After months of hard work, everyone needs to blow off some steam and reflect on new accomplishments. There are lots of ways to celebrate!

For example, consider hosting a party or gathering to let volunteers mingle and have a little fun. If you have an annual event for donors, consider inviting volunteers, too. They may not have contributed monetary donations, but they did donate their time.

Cultivate Community

Volunteers don’t only have a relationship with your organization; they often get to know other volunteers as well! Encourage a positive volunteering community by helping your volunteers get to know each other and, importantly, feel like they belong.

One way to do this is to come up with a fun name for your group of volunteers. Call them “Event Heros,” “Race Superstars,” “Triathlon Wizards,” or work out a fun pun based on your organization’s name. Anything you do to create a team atmosphere will strengthen the relationships among your volunteers and keep them eager to return.