Many non-profit organizations, social service agencies, and ministries utilize a large number of volunteers to assist in providing services to their clientele. Keeping volunteers engaged is often critical to the success of the organization.
One thing we have learned about encouraging and supporting volunteers is that, for most organizations, there are different types of volunteers and, sometimes, there are lots of volunteers (think: youth sports, Girl Scouts, churches, civic organizations). As a result, in some situations there are more volunteers than it is practically feasible to show appreciation to individually.
In these circumstances, we encourage leaders and staff to start by focusing on those highly committed and involved volunteers – those individuals you know that it would be damaging to the organization if they left. Have those 5 – 10 key volunteers take the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory and start to show appreciation to them in the ways they indicate are important to them. (Then, over time, work with the next core group of volunteers.) We have found that volunteers are incredibly receptive, responsive and appreciate the effort. They become even more energized and committed to the mission of the organization, and become one of your best marketing efforts – telling how much they love the organization!