Fundraising and non-profit events cannot be successful without a core group of committed, motivated volunteers. Volunteers can be defined as Board Members, Chairs, Honorees/Award Recipients, Committee Members, etc. They are the key drivers to increasing event attendance and funds raised for the organization. It is important to provide proper guidance and motivation to all volunteers so they feel valued and useful to the cause. Here are some simple ways to make sure your volunteers feel secure with their commitment and carry out their responsibilities:
1) Identify and use the volunteer’s strengths
It makes people feel confident and special when a talent they have is acknowledged. For each volunteer, identify a talent/skill/strength they have and figure out how it can be used to carry out part of an event. Or, create a dialogue and see what they are interested in and how that can overlap with the event. Volunteers want to be heard and feel like they have ownership over a task, so this is a great way to pinpoint something that they can work on to contribute to the overall event.
2) Outline expectations and provide space
From the very beginning of your relationship with a volunteer, make sure it is clear what the expectations of them are. Establish clear communication of what the volunteer’s tasks are and the time frame they need to work in. After everyone understands what their responsibilities are and that they can always turn to you for support, it is necessary to provide some space. Do not micromanage your volunteers because it will not provide them with the positive experience they were looking for. They need to feel like you trust and respect their work, so occasionally checking in will go further than constant phone calls and emails.
3) Accommodate volunteer’s schedules
Everyone has a busy life. So, it is important to realize that helping with your event is not necessarily your volunteer’s top priority or commitment at the time. Try to reassure your volunteers that the time they are donating to your organization fits into their schedule no matter what. For example, if you are planning a committee meeting, encourage people to attend the meeting but provide a call in number for anyone who cannot make it. This will make the volunteers feel like they are still in the loop and not missing out on pertinent information just because they couldn’t physically be there.
4) Special recognition
Volunteers do some of the hardest work for a fundraising event, and need to be acknowledged for their dedication. Take some time in your event program to thank your volunteers and make sure they are identified in any event materials (ie. invitations, journals, etc.). They’ve invested just as much as your organization has to this event, so they should receive praise from their fellow attendees and donors as well.
If you are interested in learning more about motivating your volunteers or volunteering for an upcoming event, please contact us today.