Advice: 3 Ways to Keep Volunteers Engaged

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Leading people to achieve a common goal is something that drives me.  Because of my leadership experience and ability to work with any type of volunteer, I’ve found that there are three primary ways to keep a team engaged and involved.  Here are the three -ings to engaging your volunteers:

First, a team should continuously and actively be involved in goal setting.  This is best achieved at a monthly meeting of the minds with you and your fellow volunteers.  It’s always important to have an agenda; a meeting without an agenda is a waste of everyone’s time.  (For more information on creating a strong agenda, check out Al Pittampalli’s Read This Before Our Next Meeting here.)  During the meeting, evaluate where your team stands on the previous meeting’s goals and set new monthly goals for everyone.  Having a collective goal as well as individual goals helps everyone to feel useful and involved.

Second, as a leader, it is your job to keep motivating your volunteer team as much as you can.  Since volunteers are busy, they are donating their time to an organization that is often fourth or fifth on their priority list.  Because of this, motivation is key.  So how do you motivate?  “How To Motivate Others” suggests 6 ways:

  1. Treat people kindly
  2. Give people responsibility
  3. Be a good listener
  4. Set stretched goals
  5. Get to know people
  6. Keep everyone in the know.

Third, recognizing your team goes a long way.  Everyone wants to be valued and respected.  Sending a “thank you” email or handwritten note is a good way to give people direct credit, but recognizing them in front of a group is an even better reward.  “Strategies for Keeping Volunteers Engaged” provides a list of creative ways to recognize your volunteer team, but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box for special ways to show people you appreciate their efforts.

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