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Do Volunteers Benefit from Their Work?

Most of us know that individuals who volunteer give more money than those who don’t. This fact alone should make it important to look at how people give of their time (as well as how they give of their money).

Many people will give more time if they see a benefit for themselves. So the next time you’re recruiting volunteers, you need to be thinking about what’s in it for them. This is the same as you would do for donors who also want to know what they will receive in return for their monetary support.

Do you know what motivates volunteers to want to give of their time and talents to your nonprofit? Surveys are a valuable tool when it comes to finding out why people volunteer. You can find clues to some of the questions you ask by thinking about the challenges and opportunities individuals associate with their everyday lives.

Some examples of questions to consider when trying to figure out what your volunteers value:

  • What kind of connections to other people do volunteers wish they had?

  • How can you help them build those networks?

  • What can they learn or practice in working with you?

  • How do those learned skills connect to success later in life?

  • Are there life, family, or career goals they can achieve by working with your organization?

  • What experiences can you offer that they cannot get elsewhere?

Measuring and understanding your volunteers wants and needs will help you recruit, retain, and assign volunteers much more effectively. Understanding what kind of impact they want from their time should enable you to deliver much more value to them and get more value from them.

When was the last time you thought about the value you provide your volunteers? How do you recruit and retain them?

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