Engagement Marketing

Engaging Volunteers (5): The Volunteer-Staff Connection

Without a disciplined and respectful approach to recruitment, orientation, support, assessment, and recognition, we will have lower performance and a disenchanted volunteer.”
Francis Hesselbein in Hesselbein on Leadership.

The same can be said of employees.

Staff and volunteers require:

  • an investment of time for training and ongoing communication
  • attention in terms of feedback and recognition
  • and the tools (applicable resources) needed to accomplish the organization’s goals and advance its mission.

The challenge for nonprofit managers is that internal issues regarding staff engagement also impact volunteer engagement. Like it or not, volunteers pay close attention to the staff they work with and are sensitive to employee satisfaction cues. As one frustrated volunteer told me recently: “The organization seems to expect the volunteers to be a subset of their staff and we know how they treat their staff. So in retrospect, why do we expect them to treat us volunteers any differently?!”

Volunteer relations “mirror” employee relations – if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your volunteers.

Coming up: in my last post in this series I’ll share a list of resource links for volunteer engagement and management.

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