There can be as many different reasons why a volunteer walks through your doors as there are volunteers that walk through your doors. My best guess is that the vast majority of people who volunteer with your organization have as their primary motivation a love of children and want to have a positive impact on the life of a child. But I also believe there is no WRONG or BAD motivation as long as it is not destructive or against the organizations mission. As long as a volunteer is putting the mission of the agency first and foremost I don’t care if they are there to plump up a resume or just put some pluses in their karma spread sheet.
They care about your cause or the people you serve. They want to make a difference It’s a skill they do well or are interested in. They have friends who volunteer with the program. They are seeking more fulfillment and challenge than their job offers. They want to meet people and make friends. There is something in it for them. The boss says volunteer. And why they don’t... Not enough time They may have a preconceived idea about your program from current or former volunteers and some of this publicity may not be positive. They don’t want to make a big time commitment. They can’t come when you need them. They are afraid.
These are folks who are most enthusiastic when they are given specific goals and tools to get a job done that can be quantified, such as raising money, recruiting volunteers, leading a project, etc. They enjoy people and often see them as part of the machinery which is needed to accomplish set goals. They can be very loyal to your organization because they admire the way in which you accomplish goals. Desire for excellence, want to do a good job, need a sense of accomplishment, want to advance, desire feedback
These are volunteers who wish to impact and influence others. They are excited by assignments that afford them the opportunity to persuade others to support the organization. They are typically motivated by the cause being served if the organization is truly making a life-long difference in the lives of recipients. They love the “teach people to fish” concept rather than “giving people a fish” efforts. Likes to lead, enjoys giving advice, likes influencing an important project, enjoys a job status, likes to have their ideas carried out
These are folks who value relationships above all else. They want to be liked and be surrounded by others whom they like. They hate conflict and strive for harmony among people. They are very loyal and often motivated by a commitment to the people served by your programs. They need to know they have made a difference in the lives of clients or consumers. Likes to be popular, likes to be well thought of, enjoys and want interaction, dislikes being alone in work or play, likes to help others, desires harmony
Hand out motivational analysis
This gives a very basic measure of your social motivation. You could do this with your volunteers as a part of their orientation/training.
I wondered if this conversation about motivating volunteers was really about recognition of volunteers. One of the major things that keeps a volunteer coming back is the organizations success in recognizing the work that is being done by the volunteer. How do you recognize your volunteers? Recognition brainstorming Good recognition leads to the retention of volunteers.
snag ‘em, bag ‘em, tag ‘em Retention is directly impacted by how clearly volunteers have been recruited, how fairly they are supervised and how effectively they are rewarded.
Expectations for behavior: what the agency expects of the volunteer in relation to work, clients, others and themselves. Are they realistic in terms of time and energy, applies fairly to everyone, considerate of other demands on volunteers, spelled out at the time of position placement, flexible so that the job and the volunteer “fit”, openly shared with everyone involved, openly focused on the mission of the organization, measurable, matching skill levels and interests to assignments, leading to success as defined by the volunteer. Rules: formalized regulations for how work is done; demands of the program on those involved. Rules must reflect common sense, reviewed periodically to insure they are not out of date, be realistic, should not reflect an over-reaction to an occurrence. Consideration must be given to how they will be enforced and by whom. Should be created around issues of: safety, common good, administration, compliance with requirements of governing entities. Don’t make rules to satisfy personal preferences rather than real issues. Systems: the process for carrying out work impact retention dramatically. Systems must not hinder success. Check for: common sense, efficiency, simplicity of procedure, effectiveness, connection to mission, simplicity of wording, relevance to today’s circumstances, sequential logic and desired results. Review systems periodically. People: appropriate relationships with others, people stay longer in situations where they enjoy their co-workers and others they encounter. Recruit volunteers in units, be mindful of how relationships are forming, try and match volunteers with others who have similar motivations, encourage social opportunities and find legitimate ways to get people working in small enough groups that they get to know each other and never underestimate the power of FUN. Communication: how information is shared
Rewards: what is rewarded, how and when Climate: norms or unwritten rules governing behavior, the feel of the place and feelings are facts to those who experience them. Setting: the physical surroundings and factors Success and Impact: perceptions and definitions of making a difference Individualism: what the volunteer brings to the position; expectations, time constraints, skills, adaptability, wellness, experience, energy, stability, commitment, needs, motivations, self-image.
Feeling that contributions are valued by the organization and those it serves Regularly hearing from the organization about the differences contributions have made Working with other volunteers Getting the opportunities to do things they don’t get to do at their “regular” jobs Having fun while volunteering (the purpose of fun is to have it) Feeling a part of the organization
Motivating Volunteers Presentation to: Big Brothers Big Sisters February 19, 2008
Record your choice of each statement by putting a mark or check in the space provided below for each of the three motivators. If your answer to #1was “b”, you would put a mark on the line titled “influence”. Do that for each question. Then add the total number of marks for each of the three categories.