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Engaging Volunteers

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Engaging Volunteers

Pathways York Region


Your organization’s volunteers provide a huge amount of support to your nonprofit. People who choose to volunteer with your organization help you accomplish your mission by volunteering with your organization. You can thank these volunteers by creating a way for them to engage with your organization beyond just volunteering. The more ways you can engage your volunteers and show them how much you appreciate their commitment to your organization, the more likely they will stick with you.

Ask about interests and skills.

The best volunteers are those who are interested in the organization’s mission and how they can help. While it’s important to have a specific skill, a good volunteer should care about the organization’s mission and be willing to learn new things.


Finally, one of the best ways to build community is to be a good listener. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to learn about your community by talking with people. What are their struggles? What are their joys? What are their hidden talents? When you listen, you show others that you care about them and that you value their opinions and perspectives. People are drawn to those who show genuine interest in them, and by showing interest in others, you’ll be able to build relationships that are both supportive and long-lasting.

Show you care.

One of the greatest things about working with volunteers is their genuine interest in the organization and its mission. A volunteer who cares about what your organization does will want to help however they can. And, in return, you can show your appreciation for their time and dedication by helping them feel valued.

Be flexible.

One of the best things about being a leader is the opportunity to meet and work with people who are interested in making a difference. If you can make sure that your organization offers opportunities to volunteer and allows people to choose how much time and effort they want to put in, you’re more likely to attract people who want to get involved.

Make it personal.

The best way to get your organization’s message out is through its volunteers. People who have a personal connection with the organization are more likely to share the organization’s mission and values with their friends and family. When people believe in the organization’s mission, they are more likely to do more to support it.

Make it clear what's involved.

Consider what your organization or cause offers newcomers to your mission and community. Compile a list of ways you can help first-time volunteers feel welcome. For example, start a new group where newcomers can connect and share information about what it takes to live in your area. Invite them to your regular meetings and get to know them. You may even want to offer some free workshops or educational programs so they can learn more about your organization and your community.

Be consistent.

If you love what you do, it will show in your volunteers. People choose to work with people they like, and like-minded people are more likely to work harder and more often. Choose activities that you love and enjoy doing and you will attract more people who want to help you and share your joy.


One of the most important things you can do is listen to your volunteers. If you don’t understand something that they’re saying or explaining, don’t jump in and try to explain it differently. Instead, pause and ask them to explain it in a way that you can understand. Let them know that you want to understand and are willing to work with them to help them meet their goals.

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