Today’s volunteers aren’t the same ones as those who made the table centerpieces for your annual gala twenty years ago. (My sister once forced daffodil bulbs in her basement over the winter for the private school’s spring fashion show.) Today’s volunteers are both young and older, may want to volunteer as a family, want to change the world, to use their skills, and expect to use the newest tools.
Many volunteers feel their skills aren’t being adequately used. Others are discouraged by encounters with organizational politics.
Families want opportunities to volunteer together. (Working parents may want to include their children in their weekend activities.)
Younger volunteers expect the same respect as their more traditional predecessors.
Younger volunteers need volunteer opportunities outside of normal business hours.
Volunteer jobs (often administrative in nature) may provide little sense of making a difference.
Volunteer tasks are many times not connected to the volunteer’s interests and skills.
Attracting and retaining today’s volunteers calls for different strategies. Get to know your volunteers, offer flexible opportunities, and be more sensitive to providing opportunities that appeal to the “new” volunteer. Go beyond thinking that the purpose of using volunteers is to accomplish tasks no one else wants; at least one purpose should be to engage new supporters in your mission and develop stronger relationships with a great source of new blood for your organization.