After a year of cancelled events, social distancing and changing community needs, you may have lost touch with some of your volunteers. If so, you’re not alone—last year, 90% of volunteering essentially shut down. But as events and face-to-face meetings become possible once more, engaging volunteers again will soon become a top priority.
If you’re ready to reach out, we’ve got some volunteer engagement strategies and appreciation gifts that will help you refill your rosters.
Remind people of volunteering’s benefits
Once of the best ways to get your volunteers back on track is to remind them of the benefits of volunteering, like:
- Advancing their career: Volunteering provides opportunities to learn new skills and creates networking opportunities.
- Improving their health: Spending time with other people reduces loneliness and lowers stress levels. Volunteering also provides an opportunity to get some exercise.
- Nourishing their brain: Opportunities to learn and grow through volunteering can help prevent memory loss.
Send this info to past volunteers in newsletters and emails and through social media.
Reach out to top volunteers first
Start by reaching out to your go-to volunteers. Asking the people who have been ready to help in the past can give you a head start as your volunteer needs ramp up. When you reach out, be sure to include your specific needs, like whether you need help with office tasks or community outreach.
Create a monthly messaging plan
A simple way to get volunteers re-engaged is to ensure you’re never far from their minds—or their email inboxes. Send a newsletter every month that shares upcoming volunteer needs, stories and pictures that show how important volunteers are to your organization. Include a simple call to action that explains how to get involved.
Show extra appreciation
Volunteers have always been a critical part of your organization—and with so many changing needs over the last year, they’re more important than ever. Let them know how much you appreciate them.
Adding shout-outs to your newsletters and social media posts can draw attention to all the good things your volunteers do. You could also start sharing a volunteer of the month on your website. Volunteer appreciation gifts, whether something practical like a tumbler or a tasty treat like a box of cookies, are always a good idea.
Back in the swing of things
As your organization gets back to planning events and community outreach, knowing how to engage volunteers again will allow you to hit the ground running. And with their help, you’ll be able to do work that’ll make your community better.