Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Want to know what you can do to keep the volunteers on your team from quitting?

Ask them.

A lot of times we overlook this because it seems so obvious. Could it really be as easy as simply asking?

Asking will help. People want to give you input but they’re not always sure how. When you ask for their input it makes it easier for them to share it.

But asking isn’t enough. You have to be willing to do something about what you hear. You have to actually do the things that will keep you volunteers on your team once you know what they are.

Recently I’ve been asking what will keep volunteers on my team. Here’s 4 essentials I’m hearing that help volunteers stick around for the long haul:

1. Help them contribute
When someone volunteers it’s because they want to contribute. But they want to contribute to something they’re good at. Don’t make someone teach if they’re not a good teacher. Don’t make someone a greeter if they don’t like greeting. Nobody likes doing things they’re not good at. Find out what they’re good at and figure out how they can use that to contribute.

2. Help them connect
People will come for a cause but stay for the community. If they didn’t come with a friend put them on teams where they can do something they like with people they like.

3. Help them celebrate
When there’s a win share it with your team. Maybe it’s a thank you from a parent or child. Maybe it’s an important decision someone made because of something your team did. Whatever it is share it. Get together a few times a year with nothing else on the agenda but to hang out, eat, talk, play games, and have fun.

4. Show you care
Remember birthdays. Show up when there’s a crisis. Say thank you often. Take them out to coffee or dinner. Send encouraging texts and notes. Find out their love language and communicate that way to them as often as you can.

Asking the question is a great place to start. But don’t stop there. Do something with what you hear. Even if it’s not quite what your volunteers had in mind, just knowing that you’re working to be a better leader to them will make BIG a difference.

How does your organization help volunteers contribute, connect, and celebrate? What do you do to show volunteers you care more about who they are than what they do?


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