“How You Make Them Feel”: Four Keys to Engaged Volunteers

Every nonprofit relies, to some extent, on the brains, brawn, connections, and passions of their volunteers. How much more so in the context of a crowdfunding campaign in which rallying the whole community is key to success? There is no effective crowdfunding without informed, enthusiastic volunteers. You want them to walk away feeling successful, knowing they made a difference, and excited to come back again.

And the feeling piece of this is key. It’s like the classic quote, often attributed to Maya Angelou:

People will forget what you said, they’ll forget what you did, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.

Your volunteers stick with you because they know that through your organization and mission they can make a meaningful difference in the world. They want to feel that impact.

And that feeling comes from the confluence of four things:

  • Seeing they are welcomed
  • Knowing they are appreciated
  • Sensing they are needed
  • Being genuinely motivated

Feeling welcomed means finding an immediate sense of belonging. So the moment a volunteer walks through the door – in the real world, or digitally – greet them warmly and help them make a connection to someone else in the organization.

Being appreciated may seem like the easiest of the four – just say thank you! But the trick is to do it early and often. Notice those little moments along the way when volunteers are giving their all, or putting in special effort. Notice, and show your gratitude!

Feeling needed is really about seeing impact. Show your volunteers what their efforts accomplished, both quantitatively – dollars raised or new donors reached, for instance – and qualitatively – by sharing, say, a story of a someone affected by the work of your organization, or a new donor who started giving specifically because of the campaign.

And being motivated is really the sum of the previous three. Volunteers need to know that the mission and the impact matter – and that none of it happens without them, every step of the way.

Mix these elements together, and you’ve got a winning combination for volunteer engagement – and a successful campaign.

Ready to motivate your volunteers to help meet your mission? Contact a Charidy fundraising specialist and get started today!