How to retain and engage with your Christmas volunteers?

Christmas is a time of giving and a lot of people are motivated to do so through volunteering. As many charities rely on the influx of volunteers during this time, the onboarding process gets fast-tracked and shortened.  However, how do we transition these short-term volunteers into year-round volunteers with your organisation? 

Here are some tried and tested ideas. 👇🏻

Use volunteer management software 💻

There are several ways that volunteer management software can help volunteer managers retain and engage with their Christmas volunteers:

  1. Onboarding: Volunteer management software can help streamline the process of onboarding new volunteers, especially during times of high volume, such as the festive period. This can make it more efficient to bring on new volunteers and ensure that they are properly trained and ready to contribute to your organisation.
  2. Communication: Volunteer management software often includes tools for communication, such as email or messaging, which can help volunteer managers stay in touch with volunteers and keep them informed about opportunities to get involved.
  3. Scheduling: It can help volunteer managers schedule volunteers for specific events or shifts, making it easy for volunteers to know when and where they are needed.
  4. Feedback and evaluation: The software can also include tools for gathering feedback from volunteers and evaluating their performance, which can help volunteer managers understand how they can better engage and retain volunteers.

Overall, volunteer management software can help volunteer managers streamline and improve the volunteer experience, making it more likely that volunteers will continue to support the organisation in the long term.

Give them an amazing experience 🥳

It’s not rocket science but if they have a good experience, chances are they will want to volunteer again!

Be organised, have someone check in with the volunteer on arrival, and buddy them up with a more experienced volunteer who knows their way around. 

Ask them to come a little earlier for a briefing so it’s not rushed and give a little background on the cause and why your charity is there in the community.

If you can, make sure they have a refreshment station, breaks if applicable, and even some good festive music! 

Follow up with them 👋🏻

Send them some sort of communication whilst their enthusiasm is still going strong. Maybe include a nice picture from the day and show them their impact.

E.g. ”because of your volunteering, we were able to serve X amount of meals.”

In this follow-up, ask them if they would like to engage with more volunteer opportunities with the charity. This may be via an application form so you can capture their skills and availability.

Create more micro-volunteering opportunities 👀

Chances are the people you supported on Christmas need the same support all year round. 

Look at your volunteering roles and see what can be marketed as an ad-hoc role. 

Do they have Corporate Social Responsibility Days that they can use with work and bring along colleagues?

Do they have an area of expertise like PR, marketing, or accounting, that they can support you with throughout the year?

Streamline the onboarding process 🏃🏽‍♀️

It sometimes can be difficult asking volunteers who are already engaged to now complete the rest of their enrolment, e.g. a background check or training. 

Maybe set up a coffee morning or an after-work evening for your volunteers to get back together and at the same time do the training, maybe even asking them to bring in some required documents.

Thanks to our wonderful LinkedIn and Facebook network for their input/ideas.  🎄

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