If you are looking to improve your volunteer program, one great way to start is to assess the morale of your current volunteers. Do you notice a drop in people volunteering for events? Or having trouble retaining new volunteers? This could mean you have low morale within your volunteer program.
An increase in retention means more satisfied, motivated and engaged volunteers. You want to create a positive working environment that allows your volunteer team to perform at their best and feel excited to be a part of your organization, just as you would with your employees.
How Do You Measure Volunteer Morale?
The best way to gauge how your volunteers are feeling is to ask them by scheduling a regular check-in. This could be in the form of a volunteer survey, phone calls, or a quick touch-base after a shift.
It’s important to get feedback from your volunteers, it not only is a great tool for your nonprofit to improve on your volunteer program but it also shows your volunteers you value their input. It demonstrates that your organization is looking to improve and values their opinion. This can go such a long way with your team, as long as you implement the suggestions you receive and loop back with the volunteers to let them know how their feedback is being actioned.
Your survey should ask questions on:
- The satisfaction with your volunteer program
- Suggestions or improvements that could be made
- If your training or orientation is effective in preparing volunteers
- If they feel safe and welcome within your space and how comfortable they are with in-person vs online activities
- If they have a clear understanding of your missions and the impact of their work
It’s important that you are keeping track of these answers as they provide crucial information that can help better your organization. So what can you do if your volunteers are not feeling motivated? Here are some ideas.
5 Ways To Boost Volunteer Morale
Create an Inclusive Space
This should be a pillar in your organization. Creating a safe and inclusive space for people to be their authentic selves is crucial for boosting morale. Let others know that your nonprofit is a safe space and direct volunteers to any resources that may be helpful for them while on the job. This could mean offering a quiet space for people who are sensitive to loud noises, or different onboarding options for those who have learning disabilities.
Find Opportunities to Have Fun Together
Organize a dinner, plan a fun activity, or host a bbq for all of your volunteers to meet and get to know each other. One of the best ways to give back to your volunteers is to show your appreciation by organizing events that celebrate their hard work. One of the best ways to build morale is building relationships and allowing people to feel like they are part of a team.
When planning these activities get insight from your volunteers on their availability and dining preferences. You want to create an inclusive space and so it’s important to offer opportunities for people regardless of their schedules or dining restrictions. Consider sending out a survey for the best time for events or vary the times to include the most amount of people. You should also let attendees know who they can contact to share their allergies or diet restrictions if necessary.
Having opportunities to connect outside of "work” builds a sense of community while offering an opportunity to get to know the people who are doing amazing things for your organization. The more people care about each other, the more they will want to get involved with your organization.
Ask For Feedback
Your volunteers have such valuable information on how to make your programs better. If they come to you with a problem, concern or suggestion do your best to listen and act accordingly. Try going a step further and regularly ask for feedback on how you can improve your operations. Follow up with any progress and thank your volunteers for their input.
Don’t Over Ask
An eager volunteer can easily become burnt out when they are overworked. This can happen naturally when volunteers continuously take on larger workloads. This can lead to stress, burnout and push your volunteer to quit altogether while also leaving them with a bad experience. Try to be aware of how often volunteers are working and check-in if you feel someone is overworking themselves or being overscheduled.
Practice Good Communication
Good communication means having a way to streamline your communication channels with your volunteers. The fewer hoops they have to jump through, the better! Find a process that makes it easy for your team to communicate, plan and distribute schedules with your volunteers. Also, take some time in your onboarding process to go through who the best point of contact is for you volunteers and who they should go to if they need help, have a question or need to share a change in their availability.
Keeping your volunteer's morale high takes hard work, but it’s worth it! Happy volunteers are loyal volunteers and will be more excited to work with your organization. One way to simplify the volunteer management process is to implement a tool that streamlines all your communications into one application. Volunteer Driven can help boost volunteer retention by making it easier for your volunteers to create their schedules, talk with your program managers, and get their necessary documents in without leaving the application.