5 ways to work with your frequent volunteers

It’s hard to imagine any organization accomplishing its goals without the help of volunteers. These selfless individuals provide those extra efforts that are essential to a nonprofit’s success.

As Gail Nyberg, executive director of the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, wrote in “Five Good Ideas,” the most important volunteers for an organization are the “regulars.” These are the individuals who show up most frequently when help is needed around the office or for a special event.

Working effectively with this core groups is essential, and Nyberg offered five ideas to do just that:

  • Communicate clearly, broadly, and often. One of the best ways to keep morale high is to let your regular volunteers know what’s happening in your organization and make sure they understand how their efforts are furthering your work.
  • Understand and forecast your volunteer needs. There’s having worse than having volunteers rattling around with nothing to do, or so much work that they can’t keep up.
  • Have clear and concise position descriptions. Potential volunteers must have an accurate sense of what it is they are going to do.
  • Train your staff in volunteer management. This is a great opportunity to provide some professional development for your staff, and it will ensure work is done more effectively.
  • Institute a formal volunteer-recognition process. Informal recognition is essential, but you must also make sure your best volunteers are honored publicly to boost morale.