April is National Volunteer Month! Volunteers are an integral part of many parks, recreation, and conservation organizations. Appreciating and valuing volunteers for the time and effort that they contribute is an investment in not only creating a satisfying volunteer experience, but it also showcases how integral volunteers are to your organization, as well as leads to increased volunteer recruitment and retainment.
This National Volunteer month, revisit your investments in your volunteers. How does your organization express value and appreciation for its volunteers? Are you attracting and retaining committed individuals? Can you identify areas needing improvement? If you find that some things can be done differently, keep in mind the following tips:
Depending on the volunteer position, this might seem like a no-brainer, but providing adequate training not only sets your volunteers up for success, but it can also improve satisfaction with the volunteer position and the organization as a whole. Providing training to volunteers also contributes to their sense of value and purpose through the work that they are undertaking.
Volunteers are contributing their time and talents without compensation. While not every volunteer opportunity can be entirely flexible, working with volunteers on flexible arrangements of commitment recognizes the services that the volunteer provides, and that their service is valued. Developing flexibility arrangements can also open the way to retaining as well attracting volunteers.
Actively listening to volunteer feedback, ideas, achievements, or concerns shows value, respect, and appreciation. Provide ways in which volunteers have a voice in their work, role, and in the organization.
Volunteers are vital. Recognize the contributions and achievements of your volunteers. This can be through social media shout-outs, thank-you cards, featuring volunteers in newsletters or blog posts, or hosting a volunteer recognition event or celebration.