Roundtable Recap: Volunteers Are Precious

Park City Community Foundation hosted its quarterly Open Nonprofit Roundtable on Wednesday, December 6th. Open roundtables are open to anyone working for a nonprofit organization – program staff, development staff, executive directors, and others. These events are designed to share best practices and connect with peers.

December’s topic was, “Volunteers: we love them, we need them — what can you do to ensure your volunteers and organization see maximum benefit?” In case you weren’t able to attend and would like to catch up, our nonprofit education facilitator, Maddy Shear, has put together a list of ten things you can do to engage and retain volunteers. Check out the list below.

1. Volunteers want you to be prepared: Do the upfront work, create a job description or a project brief, have the right equipment available, a place to work and a job to do!

2.  Volunteers want to know that they are helping to make the world a better place: This is the main reason people volunteer. How will you let your volunteers see and feel your organization’s impact and how they are making a difference?

3.  Volunteers want to be socially connected: If they say they are interested in social connections, don’t give them a job where they will be isolated.

4.  Volunteers want to learn: Turn a volunteer role into a mini-educational experience — many volunteers tell others about what a great experience they are having.

5.  Volunteers want to do interesting work: Match them to the right jobs — be sure in the initial screening to find out their skills, experience, expertise, and don’t forget interests. 

6. Volunteers want to feel welcomed: Act as though your volunteer is a guest — show them around and introduce them to all of your staff and volunteers.

7.  Volunteers want good training: Start with setting clear expectations just like you would with an employee — and yes, you can “fire” a volunteer.

8.  Volunteers want to know up front how much time the job will take: Be clear right in the beginning about what the time commitment is.

9.  Volunteers want to be appreciated: Show appreciation frequently. Really.

10. Volunteers want you to communicate with them well and often: Regular communication is motivating for volunteers and the lack of it is one of the main reasons volunteers leave.

If you are interested in extended tips on working with volunteers, please email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *