Tips for Retaining your New Summer Volunteers All Year Long

There are so many reasons to love summer, the warm weather, the increase in free time, vacations, and the list goes on. Your nonprofit organization probably loves the summer because it brings in a flush of new volunteers excited to join your efforts!

With college students home for the summer looking for internships, families looking for opportunities to help their community over the summer break, and even working adults that may have a little extra time to get involved, this is great for your organization!

Although as the summer winds down and many of your new volunteers are facing a busy fall, their time and interest can wane. So, how do you keep the excitement going all year long? Here are some tips for retaining your fantastic new additions for the seasons to come!

Get to know your new volunteers 

This may seem incredibly obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less true! If you build a meaningful relationship and connection with your volunteers, they will get behind not only your cause but your organization! 

One of the best ways to do this is to dedicate some time to your new recruits during the onboarding process. Don’t have an onboarding process? Well, that’s about to change! Take the time to fully introduce your new volunteers to the organization and the team. 

This means introducing them to your existing volunteers and staff members. Let them know the structure of your organization and an overview of how it functions. This will help them understand who to go to in certain situations and what role they will play.

Use talent to determine tasks

This brings us to the next step of the equation, by getting to know your new volunteers, you will also have a better understanding of what they are great at! Much like in our careers and academic lives, we tend to gravitate towards and stick with tasks and roles that we feel comfortable with and can excel at. 

The most engaged volunteers are those that are performing work they find meaningful to contribute to the cause they are passionate about. It’s also a great idea to catch up with your volunteers regularly, this helps you gauge their engagement and find new opportunities for them. 

Show gratitude and receive feedback

Even the most dedicated volunteer needs to hear “thank you” sometimes! Part of building a lasting relationship with volunteers is to show gratitude. For example, thanking a new volunteer for stepping up or accomplishing a meaningful task, lets them feel not only appreciated but shows them that they are a valuable part of the team. 

Giving and receiving feedback is also important, maybe you can help them thrive by providing feedback. On the other hand, you may learn from their experiences in ways that can help you add value to your organization. Two-way communication benefits everyone.

There you have it, some helpful tips for building lasting relationships with your volunteers. Do you have any tips that help your volunteers thrive? We’d love to hear them, connect with us on social media to share! 

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