Volunteers are an essential part of nonprofit organizations nowadays. And since organizations routinely use volunteers to hold down the expenses used for hiring and paying permanent staff, keeping a low volunteer turnover rate is more important than ever. But sometimes, you'll see volunteers disappearing after only volunteering for a short time, which takes a toll on the success and efficiency of your organization. Here are four main reasons why volunteers quit, as well as four things you can do to improve volunteer retention.
1. Volunteer burnout
Prevent volunteer burnout with mindful scheduling. Particularly if your volunteer team members work in labor-intensive roles over multiple days, you'll want to keep track of over-scheduling volunteers. When you use an scheduling tool like InitLive, it's super easy to refer to each shift and make sure that volunteers aren't being scheduled for a late-night breakdown followed by an early morning setup, or that every volunteer working a long shift is getting a scheduled break.
2. A surprise change in policies
Make your policies known. By posting your policies online for volunteers to review as they sign up, they'll decide from the start whether volunteering for your organization aligns with their goals and expectations. Also, keep your volunteers informed of any upcoming modifications in policies and procedures through online posts or electronic newsletters. Finally, make your top volunteers a part of the decision-making process on new policies by posting online surveys requesting their input..
3. Not being heard
Give volunteers a voice. Provide an online forum for volunteers to voice concerns, ask questions, offer opinions, and give advice. Then, appoint a permanent staff member to monitor the forum so that they can respond in a timely fashion to questions and concerns that are raised, letting volunteers know that they are being heard. Having an online forum that is always open to your volunteers is also a great way to build a brand that is associated empathy, caring, and support.
4. Feeling unappreciated
Acknowledge volunteer efforts. Throughout your volunteers' experiences, recognize their efforts. Besides throwing an annual awards banquet for volunteers, schedule times throughout training and the organization itself to thank volunteers for their efforts. If you know your volunteers will be facing a challenging shift, set time aside beforehand to brief them on ways to cope with the challenges and let them know of any incentive program you're running during that shift to motivate them. Afterwards, take time to thank everyone who contributed to making the shift a success, and give rewards to the top performers.
To avoid these common situations which cause volunteers quit, use InitLive as your all-in-one volunteer management, communication, and scheduling tool for your next initiative . For more information on how to retain your top volunteers so that your next initiative is a success, please contact us. And check out our blog to learn how more leaders in the nonprofit industry are using InitLive!