Elk NetworkHow to turn new volunteers into Long-term ones

Volunteer News | July 22, 2021

Want to Stick Around? How to turn new volunteers into Long-term ones

Thank you to all of our Volunteers!

As we continue to launch quality events, RMEF chapters are always seeking new volunteers to join the family and help bring innovation, excitement and new ideas. Many chapters hold more than one event during the year and rely on key volunteers to run these events. Our success in fundraising depends on cultivating new volunteers. We do this through social media posts, sport shows, work projects, volunteer emails from HQ and direct recruiting of friends and co-workers.

Once that new volunteer is recruited, though, how do we keep them coming back? It all starts with the right first impression. As we all know, the first impression is the most important and can’t be taken back. Here are seven tips on making that first impression a good one, so those new volunteers stick around for a second and third impression.

  1. Meet the new volunteer face to face or by phone call before a regular committee meeting—this might not seem like a big deal, but it’s essential. You can make the person feel welcome and also use this conversation to find out where they might fit in to your committee.
  2. Get to know the individual’s interest and strengths and use those to decide where to fit them into the different aspects of committee leadership.
  3. When the new volunteer attends the first committee meeting, have them introduce themselves and talk about why they want to volunteer.
  4. Give the new volunteer an assignment right away to engage them. Have them work with other committee members on different aspects of banquet activities.
  5. Acknowledge that whatever time a volunteer can give is very appreciated. Some individuals want to dip a toe in before they do a cannonball. They will test out volunteering for a couple of years before they commit to a larger role.
  6. Be welcoming to all volunteers. Stay away from the clicks that can form and conversations of “we need more help, but they don’t know how we do things here.”
  7. Listen to ideas and suggestions from new volunteers. They can bring a wealth of knowledge from their life experiences and provide an outside perspective. Remember how you were accepted when you first volunteered on a chapter.

The fastest way to lose a new volunteer is to fail to engage them right away and fail to make them feel welcomed and valued. Remember, you can’t take back that first impression.