MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES FOR THE COMMON GOOD
Hot Topic  |  Careers

When Passion is Payment


Monday, 3rd April 2017 at 8:00 am
Stefan Delatovic,
If you’re engaging your volunteers well, they’re not only a valuable workforce, but an invaluable channel, writes Think HQ account director Stefan Delatovic who offers five tips for retaining volunteers.


Monday, 3rd April 2017
at 8:00 am
Stefan Delatovic,


0 Comments


FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

 Print
When Passion is Payment
Monday, 3rd April 2017 at 8:00 am

If you’re engaging your volunteers well, they’re not only a valuable workforce, but an invaluable channel, writes Think HQ account director Stefan Delatovic who offers five tips for retaining volunteers.

It’s hard to overestimate the value of volunteers.

There’s the financial benefit of people gifting their time, of course, but there’s also the halo effect of their presence – if volunteers are signing up with you, then it’s a clear indication your cause is cutting through.

If you’re engaging your volunteers well, they’re not only a valuable workforce, but an invaluable channel. You’ll rarely find a better brand evangelist than a deeply engaged volunteer.

And they’re out there. Formal volunteering brought an estimated $25.4 billion of value to the national economy in 2010, according to data sourced by Volunteering Australia.

That same data tells us that the median volunteer is giving 1.1 hour of their time each week, and they’re signing up mainly out of a desire to help others or their community.

Like all of us, though, they’re time-poor. The most common reason people give for not volunteering is a simple one – they don’t have time.

So it’s important to honour the gift of valuable time that volunteers are giving, and communicating well is a powerful way of doing that.

Here are some tips:

  1. Know why they’re there

Volunteers have signed up to your mission and they want to help, so let them. In workforces where there’s a mix of paid and unpaid staff, it’s easy to feel queasy about asking people to perform tasks, but don’t smother messages with apologies.

Volunteers won’t pack up and leave because they’re busy, as long as their tasks are rewarding.

Remember, volunteers run on passion, and while passion is a potent fuel, it is volatile, so you need to ensure volunteers feel valued if you want to retain them, which brings us to our next point.

  1. Liaise, don’t task

When working with volunteers to achieve a goal, open the conversation with “how can we help each other today?”

Unlike staff, volunteers fit their role in the spaces around their everyday lives, which could include full time work and family commitments. So, try to avoid setting a mandatory meeting for everyone at 11am on Tuesday, rather find ways to distribute information in a format where people can digest it when they get a spare moment.

Set a tone of partnership.

  1. Allow them to own the brand

Volunteers are evangelists for their organisation, because they transparently, authentically care about what they’re doing – it’s why they’re there, right?

The way to turn volunteers into evangelists is to allow them to own your messages and mission. Set up structures and channels that demonstrate that the cause is owned by them, and paid staff are there to help them get the work done. Make information easy to find and simple to share.

Importantly, communicate early in the decision making process to allow volunteers to shape decisions, or at least get comfortable with them before decisions get made.

Social media, such as a closed Facebook group, is a great platform for this, as it allows volunteers to engage in a dialogue and share their ideas. If your volunteers are spread out or rarely get together, it’s also a great way to share stories.

  1. Find out who they are

Volunteers are a disparate bunch, and each member of your volunteer cohort comes with their own background, profession and priorities they’re juggling around working with you.

Such diversity can make planning a challenge, but the unifying thread of this audience is, again, passion. Try to use multiple channels to get your message out and keep communications centred on the mission – always include the “why” when discussing “what”.

The other side of this is that volunteers will likely have a bundle of skills unrelated to their volunteerism, so find ways of getting to know them and it will open up new opportunities.

  1. Get busy winning

With the above in mind, you can ensure volunteers are retained, engaged and valued for the gift they’re giving your cause. Volunteers are a powerful force and, when respected, they’ll smash through walls for you.

About the author: Before joining Think HQ as an account director, Stefan Delatovic was manager of media and communications at Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES), an organisation that depends on the efforts of 5,000 volunteers.


Stefan Delatovic  |   |  @ProBonoNews

Stefan Delatovic is an account director at Think HQ.

XREF

FEATURED SUPPLIERS


Mail Makers Integrated is a boutique full service agency and...

Mail Makers Integrated

How do you handle complex staff issues? Do your employment ...

WorkPlacePLUS

NGO Recruitment is a highly specialised provider of recruitm...

NGO Recruitment

Established in 1998, StreetFleet is a 100% Australian owned ...

Streetfleet

More Suppliers

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Show and Ask App Tackles Workplace Bullying

Wendy Williams

Monday, 22nd May 2017 at 8:39 am

Diploma-Level Workers Not to Blame for Workplace Stress

Contributor

Monday, 22nd May 2017 at 7:11 am

Why Retention is as Important as Recruitment

Contributor

Tuesday, 16th May 2017 at 8:00 am

Work Stress is a Leading Cause of Absenteeism and Workcover Claims

Rachel McFadden

Monday, 15th May 2017 at 8:47 am

POPULAR

Disability Sector Warns of NDIS Staffing Turmoil

Lina Caneva

Wednesday, 17th May 2017 at 4:58 pm

Forrest Makes Philanthropic History with $400M Donation

Rachel McFadden

Monday, 22nd May 2017 at 4:45 pm

Innovators and Leaders in Social Impact Measurements Awards Announced

Rachel McFadden

Wednesday, 10th May 2017 at 5:10 pm

Social Enterprise In Australia ‘Disappointing’ and ‘Self-Obsessed’

Lina Caneva

Thursday, 18th May 2017 at 12:59 pm

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Pro Bono News

Charity and not-for-profit news delivered directly to your inbox twice a week. Stay up to date with the latest news from the country’s most valuable sector.

You have Successfully Subscribed!