Volunteer Appreciation Month
April is Volunteer Appreciation Month!!! For many nonprofit organizations, volunteers are truly the heartbeat of the organization, they keep many organizations going…providing high quality services to the community at no cost to the organization.
If your organization has volunteers, it is important to let them know that their work is valuable and necessary for the success of the organization. It is helpful to both the volunteers and their staff supervisor to have clear guidelines about what they are expected to do and what they are not to do. For instance, it may not be a good idea to have volunteers making decisions about the organization’s operations.
To recruit volunteers, it is useful for organizations to understand the reasons why people volunteer. Research has documented the following reasons why people volunteer:
- They were personally asked by someone within or close to the organization.
- An organization they are affiliated with is involved with the nonprofit.
- They have a personal connection to the mission of the project or organization.
- They want to learn new skills (and build their resumes).
- They want to meet new people.
Along with understanding the reasons people volunteer, it is also helpful to understand the basics of Motivational Theory as presented by McClelland and Atkinson. According to these researchers, people are motivated for three reasons, or some combination of the three.
Affiliation – these are the people who want social interaction and want to make friends. They like to get involved with group projects and want to be perceived as a “good” person.
Achievement – these are the people who like to have specific goals to work toward. They seek responsibility, stick to their assigned tasks until they are completed and sees problems as challenges.
Power – these are the people who need to impact and have influence over others. Fortunately, they are also the people who keep an eye on the overall goals of the organization.
There are many facets to having a successful volunteer program in your organization. Looking to develop or enhance your volunteer program?? Give us a call, we can work with you to develop your volunteer orientation, volunteer handbook and strategies to recognize the efforts of your volunteers.
It is important for organizations to keep track of the time donated to the organization by volunteers. This information can be used in grant proposals and as leverage to garner support from other organizations, businesses and individuals. To assist you with valuing volunteer support, the Independent Sector has estimated the dollar value of volunteer time. The current rate is $21.79 per hour. www.independentsector.org/volunteertime.