Perks That Show How You Value Your Volunteers
Most chapters rely on member volunteers for much more than filling board positions. Think about your own chapter. You probably use volunteers for many of your routine tasks, like managing your website, social media, membership, as well as executing successful events like your:
• Monthly meetings
• Speaker series
• Continuing education
• Local advocacy.
With all you have to do to keep your chapter running effectively and meeting your mission and vision, volunteers are critical to your success. How are you showing your volunteers (and your membership at large) you value all they do for your chapter?
Here are a few ideas for keeping your volunteers feeling valued, engaged, happy, and coming back for more.
Vouchers for events. And not just the event at which they’re volunteering, since depending on their role, they may be too busy to truly enjoy it. Consider offering something like a two-for-one promotion, i.e. volunteers at your chapter meeting can attend for free, and they can also attend your next networking event gratis (and if they can’t make that event, they can send a guest in their place).
Give them VIP experiences. Your event volunteers are going to be pulled in countless directions before and during the event. What can you offer to make them feel valued? How about:
• Providing early access. Hold a pre-meeting just for volunteers and set it up so they can meet the speaker, get a free, signed copy of the speaker’s book, and network, with a unique experience just for them.
• Creating a backstage. Set up a command center of sorts, so volunteers can get snacks, water, gather their thoughts, check email, and return calls. In addition to a few minutes to put their feet up away from the crowd, they’ll also get a chance to network with other volunteers.
Opportunities for committee connections. Make sure to have opportunities for volunteers to interact with volunteers on other committees. They may be interested in other types of volunteering –what better way to get them interested than interacting with those doing the work –or making connections for professional reasons.
How else can you show your volunteers some #volunteerlove? Hold some volunteer only events, like a volunteer night before a big event, so volunteers can talk with your volunteer coordinator to learn what they’ll be responsible for that night and get their last-minute questions answered. Then, don’t forget to say Thank You. Have an event after the event just for the volunteers– on a different day – to show how much you value all they helped you accomplish. This is also a great time for some close out surveying; ask them what they thought went well and what could be improved.
These small extras can enhance your volunteer program. You’ll improve your chances of getting the volunteers you need when you show what volunteers “get” in return for their time. You’ll also excite your volunteers and entice others to join in and help, when you show how much your chapter values volunteers. A few calculated, high-value perks can help keep your pool of volunteers engaged, interested, and growing.