Ep 101: How to Get Volunteers on Board from the Onset with Karen Knight

Volunteers are the fuel that keeps nonprofit organizations humming.

Not discounting volunteers’ hard work to serve nonprofits’ missions, volunteers and how they talk about their experiences working with their favorite organizations provide the thrust that brings an abundance of donations, interest, and other volunteers into the system.

In short, when you treat your volunteers well and create an experience that a) positions them as the heroes in your mission story and b) treats their time as an invaluable resource not to be wasted, you’ll be on the path to real success.

See, many nonprofits position the organization as the hero of their story. In this narrative, the organization is cast as the creator of the majority of the thrust leading the charge to fulfill its mission.

Turning that framework on its head to position the volunteer as the hero is a fantastic way to encourage better engagement and attract more volunteers to your organization. It’s a subtle shift that can be challenging, but the magic happens when you get it right. This shift in messaging helps bring volunteers into the system as they see themselves cast that the hero. Who wouldn’t want to work with an organization that views its volunteer force through that lens?

Once you have enticed your volunteers to take action to engage with your organization is the next area in which planning and process development works wonders.

Crafting an onboarding process and following that process each and every time a volunteer offers to engage with your organization is paramount. Have a plan, make the volunteers feel welcome and valuable, and ensure they don’t feel that their time was wasted.

When you nail these two elements of your organization, you will see an uptick in your repeat volunteerism, your helpers will start recruiting for you, and referral-based donations start rolling in.

That’s a long introduction to this week’s guest on Relish THIS, Karen Knight. Karen has worked in the nonprofit space since first volunteering at age 11 and has been helping nonprofits improve their volunteer engagement ever since. Her consulting business helps nonprofit organizations knock their volunteer engagement out of the park by developing proven, repeatable processes and a better understanding of effective volunteer engagement and management.

If you leverage the talent and hard work of volunteers, this episode is tailor-made for you.

Dig in to see a different approach to volunteerism.

Karen Knight Consulting

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