Volunteers and staff fuel programs across the country, creating experiences and communities that support children and young adults. Community not only plays an important role for program attendees but for the volunteers as well.
For park and recreation departments and YMCAs with tight budgets, volunteers are essential to the viability of programs and projects across the community. According to a recent AmeriCorps Office of Research and Evaluation survey, an estimated 30% of Americans reported volunteering in 2019. These volunteers served an estimated 5.8 billion hours, delivering an economic value of $147 billion.
So how can parks and rec departments and YMCA programs reach the millions of Americans who dedicate their time and talents to their communities? And how can program directors build a reliable base of community volunteers to ensure the long-term success of their programs and projects? Consider these three tips for capturing interest and building a community of volunteers that become the backbone of your programs.
Listen to Your Volunteers
As a program director, you know volunteers have a wide range of service opportunities. Each volunteer cares deeply enough to spend this time helping to build a better community. Their dedication to their community shows how deeply they care, making it even more important to listen to your volunteers. Make them feel like they are part of the solution. The more willing you are to listen and use their ideas, the more likely they will want to continue to donate their time to your programs and projects.
Volunteer programs rely on engagement and meaningful contributions. A good way to accomplish this is to coordinate events, programs and projects that are well organized from start to finish. When everyone knows their roles, they are more likely to enjoy themselves.
Make sure you assign tasks appropriately to each volunteer’s skill level to keep everyone engaged and productive. Suppose an event, program or project is unorganized and relies too heavily on volunteers to figure out what needs to be done. In that case, time will be wasted, and everyone will leave feeling frustrated rather than fulfilled. By staying organized from start to finish, volunteers will be more willing to return for future opportunities. They will also be more likely to share their experiences with others, which can expand your volunteer network.
Show Your Appreciation
It is essential to show your volunteers what their time and talents mean to the success of your programs and projects. Everyone loves to know they’re doing a good job and making an impact. Consider creating a newsletter for your volunteers that speaks directly to them and their needs. Don’t forget to highlight them within your community newsletter, an email blast or even a post on social media. Each can go a long way toward showing how much you appreciate their commitment to building a better community. If you have the budget, you may even want to purchase lunches or snacks for everyone.
ACTIVENet Makes Building a Community of Volunteers Possible
ACTIVENet is a powerful tool that will save you time, keep you organized and improve your volunteer relationships. This powerful solution has everything you need to streamline your operations and keep your volunteers engaged while still saving you time so you can focus more on your community. Connect with us today to see how ACTIVENet can take your parks and rec and YMCA programs and projects to the next level.
For more tips on building a community of volunteers, Download our latest ebook, 5 Ways to Build a Community of Volunteers, for more tips on building a community of volunteers.