Keeping volunteers engaged means knowing what their motivation is. Are they volunteering to make their community a better place? Because the cause or issue has affected them personally? To connect with others and expand their personal/professional networks? To learn new skills? These are all valid reasons and knowing what motivates a person to get involved in the first place will help determine how to keep them involved. For example, if their motivation is primarily to learn new skills, you can make sure that their volunteer opportunities are challenging and diverse.
Similar to motivation is recognition. Everyone likes to be thanked. And when one considers what a volunteer has given – their invaluable time – the importance of recognition really hits home. Yet just like motivations, everyone has different ways in which they prefer to be recognized. For some, public recognition is meaningful; for others, it is embarrassing. Some like tokens of thanks like key chains or mugs; others wish the organization had instead spent those resources on programs and services. The best solution to this conundrum is simply to ask volunteers how they would like to be recognized; that way, everyone is thanked in a way that is meaningful to them. Here are some resources to check out: