Volunteerism has significant power to spread your organization’s mission, but it can be daunting to tackle the amount of engagement and intentionality it takes to get that force in motion. Connecting to vision is the key to helping volunteers move from the “I’m just a volunteer” mentality to being some of your best advocates.
Start by taking a look at your organization’s vision and mission. Are you and your team on the same page as your leadership? Ensuring you’re properly aligned and speaking the same language in the beginning is crucial to good communication and sharing that vision with your volunteers. Sometimes this looks like adding clarity to your core message by creating new language everyone can use. Other times it looks like simplifying your organizational language to the most essential elements. In the end your staff is more unified and excited about why they show up to work everyday, and you’re ready to share that enthusiasm with your volunteers.
Next, get creative! Brainstorm ways to integrate this language into your communication and volunteer training. Staying true to your core message doesn’t need to be boring! Take a look at a few ways of getting the word out.
Weekly Emails: Keeping in touch with your volunteers on a weekly or monthly basis demonstrates that their service isn’t limited to one day or one event. Remind them that you still see them as part of the team and desire to continue sharing with them. Keep it short. Keep it focused. Keep it fun!
Team Huddles: When you have the chance to see your volunteers face-to-face, take 5-10 minutes before the event or program begins to intentionally talk about the why behind their work. Make sure they know their presence is making a difference!
Share Stories: When your organization or event has a big success, your volunteers should be among the first to know! Seeing how they fit into the big picture helps connect them to the larger organization and makes them proud to be a part of it.
Volunteer Profiles: In the same way that you share success stories with volunteers, share volunteer stories with your larger organization! This is a simple way to show you value your volunteers while also signifying the collaboration between staff and volunteers.
As you share the pieces of vision little by little, your volunteers connect to the mission and engage at a higher level. As that connection strengthens, volunteers are more prone to continuing their relationship with the organization or event, more likely talk about it with their friends, and more likely to bring along additional volunteers the next time they’re needed. Do this part of the process well, and watch as your team grows and is more unified through and through.