Creating a fun space for volunteering is hard, but someone has got to do it. | Track It Forward

Creating a fun space for volunteering is hard, but someone has got to do it.

Why do volunteers volunteer? And how do you keep volunteering fun so they keep coming back?

Although making sure that volunteers have fun isn’t necessarily in your job description, creating a stress free environment where volunteers feel comfortable is a responsibility that falls on your shoulders. 

Volunteering might be your job, but it’s important to understand why your volunteers are giving their time and effort.

A JoinInUK.org study sums up why volunteers volunteer:

  • G. Personal growth and well-being
  • I. Increased sense of purpose, such as knowing just how they make a difference
  • V. Voice or how volunteers are asked to give their time 
  • E. Easy to sign up, to get there, to get the job done
  • R. Recognition. Being thanked, appreciated, and celebrated
  • S. Social opportunities like making new friends and working on a team

 

So what are the most important things you can do to provide a happy experience for your volunteers? 

Create a Stress-Free Zone

One of the most important parts of keeping your volunteers happy is to create a stress-free environment. A volunteer inevitably experiences stress in their job, so they aren’t going to want to feel additional stress while they are volunteering. But how can you eliminate stress? 

Streamline Your Onboarding Processes 

An easy way to avoid stress for volunteers is to ensure that tasks and roles are clearly defined. This starts with proper induction and training. Having a streamlined onboarding process makes the transition into volunteering easier and less stressful for your volunteers. 

Define Roles and Tasks 

It’s not the job of the volunteer to outline what needs to be done. It’s easier for everyone if tasks are laid out ahead of time so a volunteer can jump right in. This way, you avoid any time-wasting that would occur if a volunteer had to hunt someone down to get a clearer picture of what their role is. 

Be Proactive with Conflict

Sometimes when you have passionate people who want to grow the organization, differences in opinions or conflicts might arise. Instead of creating a toxic situation where volunteers are drawn into personnel issues, process and address conflict as quickly as possible. A volunteer isn’t going to want to volunteer at an organization where management seems shaky or unhappy.

Check-In

There’s no way to know how your volunteers are doing unless you ask them. Check-in with your volunteers occasionally. This way, you can ensure that they are happy with their position or can address any problems they may have. Checking in also allows the volunteer to switch projects or roles if they are unhappy.  

Exit Interview 

Although exit interviews seem like something you do only when leaving a job, it’s a great tool to utilize with your volunteers. With an exit interview, you can ask them what went well and what didn’t. You can take their feedback and implement their suggestions with your current volunteers. 

Stress is an inevitable part of life. By having guidelines and open communication, you can lessen the amount of stress that your volunteers will feel while helping. Working towards a stress-free environment creates happy volunteers, and happy volunteers are volunteers who want to keep coming back.