Creating a Rewarding Volunteer Experience

Four ways to create a more rewarding volunteer experience

More than four in 10 Canadians volunteered in 2013, according to the latest General Social Survey< released earlier this year. While that’s impressive, volunteering is down since 2010, the last time the survey was conducted. That’s not terribly surprising considering a Volunteer Canada report< found that 62% of volunteers have had a negative experience. That draws the challenge for nonprofits into clear focus: How do you not only recruit volunteers, but keep them coming back?

The best way to engage volunteers is to make working with your organization a positive experience. Here are a few tips for achieving that:

1. Be professional.

2. Make the work meaningful

3. Make the experience social

4. Make it a long-term relationship

Most importantly, recognize the contribution your volunteers make. While there are lots of personal benefits to volunteering, these folks are giving your organization and cause their time for free. Recognition doesn’t have to mean handing out trophies or throwing banquets. All you have to do is thank your volunteers whenever you get the chance<. The more you can do to make them feel needed and useful, the better chance you have to keep your volunteer program robust and move your mission forward.