How To Retain Volunteers

When it comes to volunteering I have been on both ends, I have been a volunteer and also lead them. Through the many years of being around and apart of organizations which need volunteers, I can say that if you can successfully lead volunteers you can lead anyone. This is because volunteers have a choice to follow you while paid staff comes no matter what due to the need for a check. This is why good leadership is needed when you want to have and retain volunteers. This can be done if you choose to focus on and add value to your volunteers. I have found that if you want to retain volunteers you should focus on doing some of these things on a regular basis,

  • Encourage and uplift them.
  • Let them know they are needed.
  • Show them that their role plays a part of the big picture.
  • Recognize and thank them in private and public.
  • Encourage them to move outside of their comfort zone while still in their strengths.
  • Value their time and effort.
  • Have an open door policy.
  • Provide resources for them.
  • Spend time with them outside of the organization.
  • Buy them something like a $10 Starbucks card or movie tickets. This shows you care.
  • Focus on building unity and a strong team.

If you want to have and retain volunteers then remember to do some of these things. Because, your volunteers will stay committed and stay on your team if they feel valued and cared for.

Question: Have you lead volunteers? What are some ways you add value to your volunteers?


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “How To Retain Volunteers

  1. You also retain volunteers by having well organized projects and ensuring there is sufficient work for everyone to perform. If someone signs up for a 3 day project and on the first day half of it they are standing around the chance that they will return significantly decreases.

    • This is a very good point. Having tasks or things for volunteers to do is key to keeping them. The sad thing is when the a leader is not efficient with the volunteers because its wasting their time. Thank you for reading and sharing.

    • I think people who lead volunteers often forget to say those two key words. This is something I have personally noticed. But saying “Thank you” should be on the tip of every leader’s tongue, no matter if its with paid staff or volunteers. I really enjoy your comments, thank you for sharing.