How To: Acquire and Keep Volunteers

Volunteers are the backbone of nonprofits. Without volunteers willing to give their time and talent, many non-programs would come to a halt. Not only that, volunteers who have good experiences can be an organization’s ambassador in expanding your network.

How to Get Volunteers:

1. Firstly, check who is in your immediate network? Your secondary network? Who has expressed  interest in similar causes or volunteer opportunities?

2. What non-profits or companies do you partner with? Organization might share volunteers or their networks, and companies usually have a quote for volunteer hours that they need to fill.

3. Use your technological resources. Post events on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., and make sure people share the opportunity with their friends and followers. Idealist and VolunteerMatch are great sites to post specific volunteer events to find people who are interested in groups similar to yours.

How to Keep Your Volunteers:

1. It might seem obvious, but the most important part of keeping volunteers is making sure that they have a great impactful experience. Whether its tutoring, making calls, or planting a garden, volunteers need to feel like their time is well spent and that they made a big difference.

2. Make sure the volunteers are getting some reward. I find that offering food and drinks is the best way to reward volunteers and not have them feel like they are getting ‘paid’ for their time.

3. Make sure you receive and maintain their contact information. One time volunteering events are great, but most people willing to volunteer want to have repeat experiences.

4. Keep people informed! Use that contact list and all of your other relevant contacts to make sure that they know when new opportunities arise. keeping former volunteers in the loop help them feel like they are an integral part of your organization and mission.


Volunteers are the face of our organizations, and they spread their experiences to people who are possible new constituents, donors, or volunteers. Make sure the experience is a great one. Good luck!

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