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Keeping Your Volunteers Happy

Keeping Your Volunteers Happy


The effectiveness of volunteers at your club or association will largely come down to their level of motivation towards the role. There are lots of factors that could lead to volunteer burnout; these need to be carefully considered and managed in order to ensure that your volunteers remain long-term contributors to your club. Recognising the signs of volunteer burnout and knowing how to deal with it is important in ensuring they stay motivated.

Keeping workers productive and motivated is at the forefront of the minds of organisations around the world. Even with hefty remuneration, employees  can find themselves in a slump, which means motivating your unpaid volunteers can prove especially difficult. Volunteers can become frustrated if they don’t feel appreciated by management or there is a lack of flexibility in the schedule. If the workplace isn’t a nice environment to be in, volunteers will quickly want to take their skills elsewhere. They could also potentially be feeling pressures from their own personal lives.

A volunteer experiencing burnout would display indicators that they are unhappy at your club. They may have a loss of enjoyment or a drop in productivity. Volunteers may be showing up late and isolating themselves from other members. They may also display pessimism and have increased irritability. Recognising the signs early is the key so that you can work with your volunteer to rectify the situation. Open up a dialogue with them about their circumstances. Try and identify the issue and see if you can put together a solution that works for both parties.

Of course, as with all conflict, the best solution is to avoid the need for it all together. Employ a transparent recruitment process. During this you need to outline your expectations of them and any prospective opportunities they might be able to step into. You then need to create a healthy team environment for them to prosper in. Make sure to thank them at the end of the day and keep a time sheet so you can acknowledge milestones. Be enthusiastic and appreciative of their efforts or else they won’t feel like they are making a difference.

Offering some free healthy snacks around the club will ensure they can maintain concentration and provides a bit more incentive. Upskilling your volunteers appeals directly to their self-actualisation needs, which will help them be happier in the role. You can do this by enrolling them in training courses and providing mentoring opportunities. Of course, the key to any successful relationship is to have free flowing communication with both sides. Have an open door policy and do your best to make yourself available to them for discussions about the role going forward. Look after and nurture your volunteers and they will become fantastic long-term assets for your club.