Volunteers are unpaid temporary/ part time employees of NGOs. It is the passion and zeal to do something good for the social good of the country that individuals come forward to volunteer for a cause that they support. The idea to make even a minor difference through their efforts is what motivates them to take time out from their busy schedule and contribute to the society.
NGOs are more than happy to have skilled people onboard who can help them in their work. Some organizations have the advantage of having volunteers who can give them strategic advice and propel them towards scaling up their operations; improving systems and processes, providing adequate networking as well as expanding their reach.
So why then do some of these enthusiastic and committed volunteers leave the organization?
In my experience of working on Impact Projects (an initiative of iVolunteer which connects skilled volunteers to NGOs) and interacting with volunteers, I have seen that following are some common reasons why volunteers call it quits but the NGO is not able to comprehend these reasons. One major reason is they feel that their efforts are not bringing about any change to the social order. This leads to frustration ultimately compelling them to leave.
Other reasons why they leave are:
1) The NGO is unable to keep them engaged
2) Volunteer’s work is not appreciated
3) Ideas and suggestions of the volunteers are not given heed
4) Volunteer’s time is not valued
5) Organization does not invest time in orienting and briefing the volunteer
6) Volunteers are not able to adapt to the NGO style of working
It is very essential that organizations address the above issues to avoid quitting of dedicated volunteers.
Organizations might not have the bandwidth to manage volunteers and hence one of the above cases might take place. What is it that the NGO can do to tackle these situations? It can be tackled by having devoted personnel at the NGO for managing volunteers who will facilitate in having a long association with volunteers.
Volunteers coming from any background should be hired and engaged just as they would be for any corporate organization. They should be taken through all the processes of screening, interviewing, orienting, inducting and training about the NGO’s area of work. Responsibilities should be clearly defined for them so that there are no confusions. These minor things go a long way in retaining the volunteers.
Few other simple things organizations can do to retain volunteers:
1) Tap Into Volunteers’ Motives
2) Tell Volunteers What You Expect
3) Make Volunteering Convenient
4) Make Volunteering Fun
5) Show Appreciation