Professional volunteers with experience and business instinct are irreplaceable. They can help you overcome challenges, including funding issues. Recruiting volunteers is one way your association can meet more of its goals in a cost-effective manner.

For our blog on volunteers we asked some of our invaluable volunteers what made them want to become a volunteer and why they stick with it.

“One of the reasons I participate on the Human Resources Council within the EDA is that I am passionate about coaching and mentoring, sharing and exploring opportunities within our environment.   Through this experience, I have developed strong relationships which have helped me, our organization and the Community. Volunteering brings satisfaction and is a great networking tool for career and business success.”, Jane Hale-McDonald, Chair, EDA Human Resources Council, Energy +.

Volunteers come to you for different reasons.

“I have always been passionate about giving back to my community. One of the ways I can do that is through volunteer work. Not only is a great opportunity to give back it allows me to work with people I wouldn’t necessarily see every day and to meet new people.”, Sue Forcier, Past Chair, EDA Communications Council & EDA Conservation and Sustainability Issues Council, Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc.

We put together five of the top motivations that drive professional volunteering and how you can make each type of volunteer feel appreciated.

 1. Help People

In order to make your volunteers feel appreciated show them the people or causes they’re contributing to. For example, volunteers who organized children’s toy donations could go with you to deliver the toys to neighborhood kids. If that’s not possible, tell stories about how they’re helping. Show them pictures. Make them feel they are making a difference.

2. Try a New Role or Develop a New Skill

These volunteers would like as much exposure to people working in the industry as possible. If a volunteer is new to your industry, you could put them in charge of your online community as a moderator or content curator. This will help them get to know industry experts in your community. Make introductions and have volunteers do different tasks over time so they get a feel for the industry before switching careers.  

3. Make Business Connections or Friends in the Industry

This volunteer group already knows the ropes and what it’s like to be in the industry, but they want to grow their network. While they’re volunteering, you can help by introducing them to people who have similar backgrounds or have taken similar career paths. They’ll appreciate your help as much as you appreciate theirs.

4. Build Out Their Resume

Do they want to lead, or do they just want to list their volunteer position for your association? If someone wants leadership experience, help them get it. Whether it’s with an in-person management position or acting as a facilitator for an online community group, there are leadership roles for every interest and experience level.   

5. Be a Part of Something Bigger

Associations are known for making a difference not only in their industries, but in the world at large. They’re part of local, national and international movements, which means you will often have people join because they want to contribute to your mission. They want to make an impact and be part of something bigger than themselves.

Make them feel like your organization couldn’t have such a powerful impact without their contributions. Instead of: “We couldn’t do it without you.” Say: “We couldn’t have provided shoes for 20 underprivileged kids without the letter campaign you spearheaded for us.”