One of the most challenging aspects of growing a grass roots nonprofit venture is in getting and keeping your volunteers engaged. At least, it seems complicated.
Ronn Torossian says this is because too many nonprofit PR campaigns focus on the issues and not the solutions. When you spend too much time thinking about the problems, it is reflected in your PR. People want to be part of a solution. They don’t want to join another complainers club.
Here are 4 tips Torossian offers to keep your volunteers engaged:
#1 – Focus on your target
One of the biggest failings of any nonprofit PR campaign is using too wide of a net. Yes, you want to bring in as many willing volunteers as possible as well as a steadily increasing amount of donation income. But, that goal can be a trap. Because what you really want is the most passionate volunteers and the most consistent donation income. It’s difficult to budget peaks and valleys, which is what you get when you look for quantity over quality. Not saying quantity is bad, just that your focus should be on quality first.
#2 – Keep in touch
It’s become cliché to say we live in a “fast-paced” world. The reality in this nonprofit PR is that we are competing with a myriad of constant other things keeping people distracted. The best way to keep your volunteers connected is to stay in regular touch with them. E-mail, web and social media methods allow you to stay “front of mind” with your volunteers. Not because they WANT to forget you, but because life almost demands it.
#3 – Give them opportunities and acclaim
Do not just put your hand out all the time. Yes, you need help to get good work done. But you cannot just be seen as always asking for help. It is vital that your charity PR spends some time thanking the volunteers and offering them the acclaim they deserve. After all, these good-hearted, driven people are your biggest allies in your work. Do not take their work for granted.
#4 – Make them a partner in your work
The final step in keeping your volunteers engaged is to encourage them to share in all aspects of the process. Just showing up from time to time is terrific, and it helps. But some volunteers want more out of a volunteer opportunity. They would willingly offer their talents and resources as well as their time – if you give them the opportunity.