Problem: I've run more than a few field offices in my career as an organizer, and there's one challenge that seems to always present itself: a volunteer walks through the door and wants to help. They don't want to phonebank, they don't want to canvass and they don't want to do data entry. So what task do you give them to do?
Answer: Ask the volunteer to write thank you notes to other volunteers! They don't have to be fancy, but they should include a few key items:
- Include a message of thanks from one volunteer to another. I usually prep a few pre-approved messages beforehand to make it easy for the volunteers. Some folks get writer's block, so this makes it easy for them. Just make sure you include an ask to come back and volunteer!
- Add your office's contact info. Include the basics like address, email and phone number. If you want to take it to the next level, include things like parking instructions, website, and social media links for your field office.
- Put the notes on your front desk. Give them out as folks finish their shifts - there's nothing like a hand-written thank you note asking people to come back again!
Invest the time in preparing these thank-you notes, and your volunteers will feel appreciated and come back in droves (or at least, that's the hope!)
What are your strategies for volunteer retention? Share with us in the comments on our blog.
Nick Niles was NOI's Organizer of the Year in 2011.