Unlike businesses, nonprofits are built on the foundation of people doing things out of the goodness of their heart. An employee at a business shows up to make a paycheck. A nonprofit volunteer shows up to make a difference in the world. That is why communication and relationships are important for nonprofits. Volunteer feedback is the most crucial variable for growing your nonprofit. Knowing how volunteers feel will help you improve. Keep reading to learn why volunteer feedback can help both you and your volunteers!
Volunteers need to know that you care
Relationship building is essential for nonprofits. Your staff should always communicate with volunteers. Additionally, your volunteers should have a simple way to communicate with you. Whether you have one-on-one meetings or ask for email feedback, here are a few key questions you should be asking your volunteers:
- Are you satisfied with your role?
- How do you want to grow by volunteering?
- What are your personal interests/hobbies?
- How can we help you succeed as a volunteer?
- What keeps you coming back to volunteer?
- What makes you not want to come back as a volunteer?
- Why are you passionate about our nonprofit?
By asking questions, you show that you care. If there is no communication, there won’t be growth.
Volunteers need to feel valued
A paycheck keeps employees coming back to their jobs, but feeling valued keeps volunteers coming back to their nonprofits. Feeling valued means that volunteers feel needed. You want volunteers to feel like their help makes a difference. When volunteers feel valued, they will continue to give their time. Collecting feedback from volunteers will help you know if your volunteers feel needed at your nonprofit.
Volunteers need to feel missed
Have volunteers who suddenly stopped volunteering? You need their feedback! Set up a way to send out automated messages when people are absent. Let them know that, first of all, you miss them and, second of all, ask why they haven’t come back. If you don’t get any response from an automated message, make a point to personally reach out. They may be absent due to their own issues (family sickness, work change, etc.), in which case you can let them know that you care. If they had a problem with your organization, it’s a great growing point for you. Growing from feedback will help you make changes and retain more volunteers in the long-run.
Volunteers need consistency
Schedule milestone (1 month, 6 months, 12 months) check-ins where a staff member meets with volunteers. This is a great time to give them a small gift as thanks for their faithfulness, as well as gauge how they are feeling about their experiences. Random meetings, or none at all, will make your volunteers feel forgotten. Regularly scheduled check-ins are a must to make sure your volunteers have ample room to voice their opinions and concerns to you.
Volunteer feedback is invaluable. Having systems in place for gathering volunteer feedback is non-negotiable. Even though it’s easy to get caught up in the “doing” of your organization, don’t forget this key component. Connecting with your volunteers is the number one way to grow your nonprofit. They are your eyes and ears in the field, so don’t take their feedback for granted. Set your feedback systems in place today and watch your nonprofit start booming!