Drive Volunteer, Employee Motivation

More than 62 million individuals contributed $184 billion in human capital to nonprofit organizations in 2015 by volunteering. That means that even a 10-percent increase in volunteerism would result in contributions that would dwarf the annual revenue of even the largest of our nation’s nonprofits.

Making those strides will require volunteer motivation, according to Elayne Sheridan, director of leadership development at Blackbaud. Sheridan dug into this topic for both organization volunteers and employees during her presentation “Four Ways to Motivate Volunteers and Employees” at bbcon 2017 in Baltimore, Md.

    The four innate needs that volunteers and employees gravitate toward, according to Sheridan, are:

  • Bond. Individuals are looking for a sense that they are part of a team or group. People may satisfy this urge through friends at work, a strong feeling of identity in their role or the team that they are a part of, or a bond with a specific skill that they might possess — participation in professional associations serving as an example;
  • Acquire. Your employees and volunteers are looking for status and security with their involvement in your organization. That might equate to financial security for an employee or satisfaction in role status or network for either an employee or a volunteer;
  • Learn. Individuals, especially employees, like to feel challenged and able to grow and learn. Learning also encompasses the ability to make meaningful choices and contributions; and,
  • Defend. If the first three motivators are about reputation and status, this prong is the desire to secure those benefits. Transparency from leadership and stability are primary components of this driver.